Four Muskogee County school districts and two Cherokee County districts, will receive mobile internet access and devices through Verizon Unlimited 4GE data plans and Jetpacks.

The districts are Hilldale, Fort Gibson, Haskell and Porum. Briggs and Tenkiller schools in Cherokee County also received connections and devices.

They are among 175 Oklahoma school districts awarded the grants. 

The competitive grant recipients were announced Friday by State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) grants leveraged a portion of the agency’s set-aside monies from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund created by the federal Coronavirus Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help ensure all students have connectivity to access online learning if community spread of COVID-19 requires districts to use distance or hybrid learning models, according to a media release.

Districts receiving the devices, which Verizon sold to OSDE at a discounted rate, will assign and deploy them under specific requirements. For example, districts awarded hotspots must pay a nominal monthly service fee for unlimited 4G LTE data service for each awarded device for at least six months and assure that devices are assigned only to low-income students, the media release said. 

Verizon expects to ship hotspots to districts so that they will be available when school starts. The company will also provide technical support throughout the school year.

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