TPS Buying Mobile Hotspots for Summer School Students

May 5, 2020

Tulsa Public Schools will spend up to $500,000 on mobile hotspots and data services from Sprint for students who need summer school but don’t have internet at home.

TPS will have 1,500 hot spots available.

"We’re prioritizing the upper-grade students, high school students, including [this year’s] seniors who may need to move on into the summer to continue wrapping up their credits," said Superintendent Deborah Gist.

Some devices will be available for younger students, too, but the COVID-19 pandemic is making TPS prioritize.

"We are planning to narrow the focus of our summer learning and spend time when we’re able to get our students back into school buildings physically to work with them to help them get caught up because we know that doing this virtually over the summer is going to be less than ideal," Gist said.

About one in three TPS students has limited or no internet access at home, creating a barrier to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The district’s agreement with Sprint runs through May 2021 in case distance learning must continue and a citywide task force has not come up with a solution to the digital divide.

Free internet options available through local providers are set to run out in July.