Schools are preparing for the possibility that they might need to close as a result of the COVID-19 alert and this has prompted them to take steps to ensure that all their students could continue to engage in online learning. Which of course means that their students will need a home internet connection. Schools have been checking with their students to find out how many do not have access to an internet connection at home and early indications are that this could be tens of thousands.
Some schools have already approached Jump partners requesting large quantities of Jump modems – one Auckland school has asked for 300. Clearly current Jump partners do not carry sufficient modem stocks to satisfy this demand.
The Spark Foundation and Ministry of Education are discussing a contingency plan for supporting the estimated 50,000 households that currently do not have a broadband internet connection. A roll-out on this scale will place a large strain on all types of resources, so strategies are being implemented to ensure a pragmatic, well-managed and targeted approach is taken.
We’ve been advised by the Spark Foundation that the MOE will liaise directly with schools on this matter and that schools will hear from them in due course. However, in the meantime, please remind schools that families who want to be pro-active and start preparing for the possibility of their children’s school(s) closing, are more than welcome to contact their nearest Jump provider and make an appointment to sign-up for a connection.
It would be helpful if you could let us know if any schools contact you about this – could you ask the school for an estimate of how many households could be affected and a contact name, phone and email at the school and send this to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can then make sure these schools are informed directly when the Ministry’s contingency plan is decided.