RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (KVEO) — Thousands of dollars are underway to help Rio Grande Valley students close the digital gap created by the pandemic, especially for those living in colonias.
For thousands of students, struggling with internet connection has been frustrating to the point they have given up.
“Yeah, I got tired of it, I just didn’t want to do it anymore. But, I didn’t quit, I mean I did quit but I was there in the beginning,” said 10th grade student, Kevin Gonzalez.
He shared poor internet connection made him feel like he did not learn much this semester and is nervous going back for 2020-2021 school year.
“The teacher’s mic would cut off sometimes or the video would be lagging and frozen sometimes. When we were asking questions sometimes teachers couldn’t hear us,” Gonzalez said.
Aiming to bridge the gap between internet access and education, the state has allocated $200 million dollars from the CARES ACT to help students stay connected during virtual learning.
“We will receive a good deal of money because of the metrics. Because we are in such an impoverish area, because we have such a gap and we have these colonias and these issues that we are able to demonstrate that we deserve a certain amount of money,” said State Representative Terry Canales.
He said internet issues existed in colonias way before the pandemic hit but it is now disrupting futures.
“We know that many people aren’t going to send their children back to school, we have this issue that if they’re not going to send them back to school, how are they going to learn? Some people think that internet is a luxury, but the reality is in today’s age it’s a necessity,” Canales added.
In addition to the new funds allocated by the state, Hidalgo County has funds in the pot from the recent stimulus bill waiting to be distributed. Officials tell us it will be divided among the four precincts in the upcoming weeks.
The Texas Education Agency has yet to determine how much money the Valley will receive.