SPRINGFIELD – Illinois state agencies released a wi-fi hotspot map today to help students across the state who lack internet access in their homes. The effort was spearheaded by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) along with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), the Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT), the Office of the Secretary of State Illinois State Library, and the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB).
"The Illinois Board of Higher Education embarked on a collaborative project to identify public locations across the state where students could tap into free internet access," said IBHE Executive Director Ginger Ostro. "It's key to helping our state's students to 'attend' class, use video and conference calling, conducting research, emailing assignments, and more."
Thousands of Illinois students are participating in e-learning during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 15th, the wi-fi map has 200 hotspots students can use to complete coursework. Students and their parents or guardians should continue to practice social distancing by remaining in their cars while utilizing the hotspots. If a student or caretaker is sick or experiencing symptoms, they should remain at home.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the life of every Illinois student but not equally," said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. "The transition to remote learning has accelerated our efforts to close the digital divide among Illinois students and families. This map is one way to level the playing field in the short-term and to increase access to the tools students and educators need to engage more deeply in remote education."
Wi-fi hotspots are available at multiple locations around the state including local colleges and libraries. To find a hotspot near you, click here.