Many parents are feeling better about the start of school after learning Gov. Kay Ivey directed $100 million to expand broadband access this fall.
The funds were provided through the federal CARES Act and will be available for families with students who are eligible for free and reduced lunches or other income criteria.
WAAY 31 spoke with a mother who says this is a big step for students in Alabama, especially in rural counties.
Jamey Sheldon told us everyone deserves an equal chance at getting a quality level of education. A big part of that is having access to internet while outside of school, since many kids will be learning from home.
"It really puts students at a disadvantage, and with this money, it kind of just levels the field of learning for those students," said Sheldon.
Sheldon is a mom with two kids in the Morgan County Schools system. She says everyone deserves access to internet to succeed in school, and she's thankful Ivey made an effort to show how important that is.
Families that qualify will get a voucher from the Alabama Broadband Connectivity for students.
"No matter how much we struggle with it, it is a blessing to have that option during a pandemic," she said.
The voucher will help cover the costs of equipment and service for high-speed internet.
Sheldon says she knows this academic school year will be very different from any other, but says it's good to remember that everyone is going through this odd experience.
"All of us are in the same boat. We're all stressed out. Nobody knows what we're going to look like, so just give everyone grace and be kind," she said.
Parents will receive a letter in the mail with more details on the program and the vouchers will last through Dec. 31.