In April 2020, to ensure continuity of learning when schools closed to in person instruction due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Maine Department of Education (DOE) launched ConnectKidsNow! with funding from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER). Through this program, connectivity was ensured by providing hotspots to 26,702 students, which met 100% of the need reported by schools between April 2020 to June 30, 2021.
Though the State is no longer funding the wireless service to the hotspots that were provided to and remain with the requesting schools, Maine schools can purchase discounted wireless service for these hotspots through the state procured contracts with three cellular providers. Information about the cost of service and vendor contacts can be found on our website: https://www.maine.gov/doe/Learning/LTT/ConnectKidsNowProviders
Additionally, the Maine DOE is providing technical assistance to School Administrative Units who are applying for the federal grant Emergency Connectivity Fund, which can provide funding for these wireless devices to support at home learning.
The Maine DOE is available to support schools with new account set up, wireless service activation, and resources for connectivity.
For more information on the ConnectKidsNow! Initiative, ECF funding applications, and wireless support for at home learning, please reach out to Brandi Cota at Brandi.M.Cota@maine.gov.