Metro Nashville Public Schools will distribute laptops and internet access to all public school students, Mayor John Cooper said Monday.
Cooper said he is requesting $24 million of the federal Cares Act money from the Metro Council for the rollout, which he says will provide the district with roughly 90,000 laptops and 17,000 mobile internet hot spots.
MNPS Director of Schools, Adrienne Battle, says the move is necessary to bridge the digital divide that so many of the district’s students face — those without internet and computer access.
The district estimates that about 20% of students lack internet access.
“It is past time that our city and our school district provide a device for every student,” Battle said. “And now we are moving much closer to reaching that goal.”
As other major metropolitan districts quickly transitioned into distance learning, Nashville was slow to roll out a plan, citing concern for equity issues. It took more than a month for Metro Schools to begin a remote learning plan in earnest and offering laptops to third and fourth graders.