Houston says it’s giving students safe places to attend virtual classes: Here’s how they’ll work

Moody Foundation gives HISD $1M grant to help shrink digital divide for students in need

In partnership with Comcast, the City of Houston announced the launch of “Lift Zones” in an effort to reduce the digital divide and allow more students to successfully participate in distance learning.

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, several school districts have reported losing contact with children since the initial closures of schools in March.

How it will work:

In an effort to reconnect low-income families to the internet, Comcast announced plans Monday to equip nine City of Houston Community Centers with WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” before the end of 2020.

The spaces will allow students to work on laptops simultaneously so they can participate in distance learning. This initiative provides free connectivity inside partner community centers for the next three years, according to the city’s website.

“The COVID-19 crisis continues to put many low-income students at risk of being left behind, accelerating the need for comprehensive digital equity and Internet adoption programs to support them,” Regional Senior Vice President of Comcast Houston Ralph Martinez said. “We hope these Lift Zones will help those students who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to connect to effective distance learning at home.”

According to a news release from the Mayor’s Office, the “Lift Zones” will be operated by a nonprofit, city or business which will follow safety protocols in response to COVID-19.

Participating City of Houston Lift Zone sites include:

  • Acres Homes Multi-Service Center
  • DeZavala Community Center
  • Emancipation Community Center
  • Hartman Community Center
  • Kashmere Multi-Service Center
  • Magnolia Multi-Service Center
  • Melrose Community Center
  • Southwest Multi-Service Center
  • Third Ward Multi-Service Center

“The pandemic has underscored the need for students to have internet access to support their education and not fall behind in the classroom. Parents must also have options that work for them,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “We are grateful to have Comcast step up and partner with the City of Houston, providing families with crucial resources like WiFi Lift Zones, and giving needed support when at-home connectivity is not available.”

For more on “Lift Zones” go to the city’s information page here.

About the Author: