SKAMANIA COUNTY, Wash. (KOIN) — The Stevenson-Carson School District is working to bridge the digital divide with free ‘internet cafes’ for students, especially those with limited or no access to the internet.
Internet Cafes are safe spaces set-up with private cubicles that provide free high-speed internet access for students. Currently, there are three different locations: North Bonneville, Stevenson High School, and Wind River Middle School. According to the school district, the Port of Skamania County and the Skamania County Economic Development Council donated the office space and resources for the North Bonneville location.
District Superintendent Ingrid Colvard says families with students grades kindergarten through 5th-grade currently have the option to return to in-person schooling or continue to learn remotely from home. She adds that about a third of those families have opted for distance learning.
“Our community has pockets where either there is no internet at all or there’s such spotty internet that it’s not consistent and for some of our kids it’s just not enough broadband to be able to participate in live remote teaching, so for those reasons, we needed some location for kids that had intermittent problems or could just not make that work.. so the internet cafes the idea was to provide that,” Colvard said. “It’s not really how many needed it. It’s more that if even one needs it, we need to have that option.”
Colvard says all internet cafes will follow COVID-19 health and safety requirements. Students will have their temperatures checked before entering. In addition, each private cubicle is arranged to follow social distancing and will be deep-cleaned and sanitized after each use. School staff will also be onsite to supervise and assist students.
The districts’ internet cafe’s operate weekdays from 8:15 a-m to 3:15 p-m and are appointment-based. Families can reserve a time by contacting any of the following locations: