She’ll be darned if she’ll spend one red South Dakota cent on coronavirus relief, but Governor Kristi Noem is happy to hand out federal CARES Act dollars and claim credit for doing something about the burdens her pandemic has placed on education and families in South Dakota.
Before rushing off to the Trump rally in Omaha, Noem announced that nineteen telecoms will get CARES Act dollars to provide free home Internet access to lower-income South Dakota families with kids in elementary or secondary school. The K-12 Connect program will run fully subsidized Internet to student homes that didn’t have Internet on July 1, 2020 and where the family income qualifies for free or reduced school lunches. A family of four needs to make less than $48,470 to qualify:
Evidently the state sent letters Monday to families that qualify, but given the state’s struggles in getting important pandemic information out to all citizens in a timely fashion, families who think they qualify for K-12 Connect are welcome to call (605) 773-3248 or email email@example.com.
Alas, according to the map linked on the K-12 Connect page, there are still some pretty big swaths of South Dakota—some surprisingly close to Sioux Falls and Watertown, as well as big stretches of Indian Country—where free Internet to the home is not available:
In those unserviced areas, the K-12 Connect page says the state may be able to connect families with hot spot service.