Opinion

Coronavirus Exposes the Digital Divide

Brian Lipscomb
Apr 13, 2020 12:44 PM ET

The Coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we go about our daily lives. What once consisted of personal interactions has morphed into virtual meetings over Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams. But there is another, often unseen effect of this pandemic: the exposure of the Digital Divide.

Many would say that the Digital Divide doesn’t exist anymore, because cell phones are ubiquitous. While it is true that most have a cell phone, effective online learning requires more. The mass closure of schools has put low-income families (and many rural families without access to broadband internet) at a distinct disadvantage. A lack of proper technology makes learning more difficult when everything is online.

Some nonprofits have stepped up to donate things like iPads and Chromebooks to students, but we need to seriously think about how we go about teaching in the future. Access to tech needs to be universal, not just for those who have the income to afford it. Let’s not perpetuate the Digital Divide by turning a blind eye to those who need technology the most.