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City of Port St. Lucie program offers free mobile hot spots to help students stay connected

'It’s difficult to communicate when your internet is cutting off,' says a student
Posted at 3:47 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 13:14:02-05

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Distance learning has become a way of life in this pandemic, so reliable internet is more important than ever.

Now, there’s a new program in St. Lucie County keeping kids connected.

Layali Bazar has a heavy course load. Classes at Fort Pierce Central and five courses at Indian River State College keep this high school senior busy.

So recently, she got frustrated when her home internet kept cutting out.

“It’s difficult to communicate when your internet is cutting off and you keep disconnecting every 20 minutes,” said Bazar.

Bazar says it’s especially hard with math and science classes.

“If you lose those 5 minutes, you lose all critical information which can hurt when you’re dealing with tests and quizzes and so on,” said Bazar.

Enter, the City of Port St. Lucie.

Through CARES Act dollars, the city initiated a new program, offering 2-thousand free mobile hot spots to families struggling to access the internet.

So far, more than half of the devices have been given to local public and charter schools.

“So we’ve paid for 6 months of prepaid internet service. The device is free. Families can keep the device when subscription expires and they may be able to connect it at a reduced rate,” said Carmen Cappezutto with the City of Port St. Lucie.

There are income eligibility requirements, and the hotspot has parental control to filter out inappropriate websites.

If you’d like more information, call 772-871-5264 or email.