Free internet for Canberra students ahead of move to online learning | The Canberra Times


Hundreds of Canberra public school students without home internet will be connected up for free, as the ACT government moves to ensure all children can participate in classes as the curriculum moves online in Term 2. Education Minister Yvette Berry said the government had struck a deal with Telstra to provide home internet access to any public school student who needed it. When classes return on Tuesday, all students will be taught online, regardless of whether they are learning from home or at one of the nine “hub” schools remaining open for children requiring supervision. About 600 student, from about 450 families, had signed up to receive free home internet access as of Friday night. The government has secured and started delivering about 200 internet dongles to schools, which will pass on the devices to students. A further 200 dongles, which can be shared among multiple people in a household, are being purchased. Telstra will provide 1000 SIM cards, which will supply the internet service to the dongles. The SIM cards will be active under the end of Term 2. “It’s so important that all children and young people have equal access to learning,” Ms Berry said. While students will start Term 2 learning remotely, there is a chance they could be back in the classroom before the term concludes. Ms Berry last week said the government would over the next month work with parents and teachers to prepare for the transition back to face-to-face learning. There is no set date for when schools might reopen as normal. Meanwhile, the ACT continues to edge closer to having no known traces of COVID-19 inside its borders. The ACT recorded no new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to midday on Sunday. A total of 106 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the ACT recorded its first case on March 12. READ MORE: But just four of those case were “active” as of Sunday afternoon. A total of 99 people have recovered. One remains in a stable condition in Canberra Hospital. Three people have died in the ACT after contracting the virus. Health authorities continue to investigate how the territory’s most recent case – a young female adult – contracted the virus, although they believe it was linked to overseas travel. ACT Health said on Saturday that the female was aged under 30. “She has been isolating and we are working with a small number of close contacts. There is no risk to the wider community,” it said in a statement on Sunday. Health has also finalised an investigation into the source of another infection, which found a man in his 60s contracted the virus on a cruise ship. “We are confident there has been no risk to the wider community as the man did all the right things since returning to Canberra,” authorities said. ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman thanked Canberrans for adhering to physical distancing rules while commemorating Anzac Day on Saturday. “It was so wonderful to see everyone still connecting on this important day and commemorating Anzac Day even with physical distancing measures in place,” she said “I know our health care workforce are particularly grateful for the cooperation we are seeing across the ACT this weekend.” Our COVID-19 news articles relating to public health and safety are free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. If you’re looking to stay up to date on COVID-19, you can also sign up for our twice-daily digest here.

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