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Oct. 2020  
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SECRETARY’S COLUMN: K-12 Connect program launches

Face-to-face learning is best. I know I don’t have to tell you that. It’s what educators, students, and communities want, and I know that schools are doing everything they can to maintain in-person learning.

Nonetheless, as the pandemic continues, so does the need for distance learning. So, how do we make the most of this situation? We strive to make distance learning, when it’s necessary, the best it can be.

The first step is access. To that end, Governor Noem recently launched the K-12 Connect program to provide free internet service to those students whose families cannot afford internet connectivity in their homes. With the widespread use of distance learning, this connectivity is crucial to ensure students maintain access to their schoolwork.

Families in your schools who are eligible for this program should be receiving letters in the mail, with instructions for taking advantage of the program. Letters were mailed Oct. 26, and the enrollment deadline is Nov. 20.

The free service will last through June 30, 2021, at which time households will either need to return the equipment or continue the service at the household’s expense.

I hope you will help us spread the word about this valuable program to your schools’ families. We recently emailed communications pieces to school administrators, including a fact sheet and sample letter for families, for this purpose.

You can find more information at k12connect.sd.gov.

Thank you for everything you do for South Dakota students.


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