A photograph that shows two Salinas City, California Elementary School District students sitting outside of a local Taco Bell in order to capture WiFi and enable them to attend their virtual lessons has gone viral, Daily Dot reports.
The picture is being held up as an example of America's 'digital divide' - something that has become perhaps yet more poignant since schools turned to virtual learning in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
A screenshot of the image was shared on Twitter, where it has accrued more than 6k likes and 3k retweets since it was posted. The tweet reads:
"This is in Salinas, CA— just south of the Bay Area. Small children sitting outside a Taco Bell to be able to get WiFi so they can attend school. When we think about remote learning, we need to stop thinking of it through the lens of people with money and safe housing."
Per KION, the district has said it is aware of concerns regarding internet access for students and that it provided an internet hotspot for the family in question. The district also said that it would offer additional hotspots to families in the area. Amy Ish, President of the Board, said in a statement:
"The digital divide is very real and delays in receiving needed technology are a statewide concern, we are grateful the State is making technology a priority and look forward to receiving these hotspots in our District,"
An Instagram post that shows the two students in question reads:
"Oh my gosh mi corazon. This image shared my @ms_mamie89 of 2 little girls outside a Taco Bell in Salinas trying to access the WiFi for their classes. It’s been so tough on these frontlines, there’s so much necessity in these underserved communities. We need to save them. And how is this possible if these are the communities that feed the country? I’ve been learning so much and honestly I needed a couple days to get my thoughts and strategies together to figure out how I can make a bigger impact at a faster rate. I had to step back and figure out how I can work smarter not harder for these communities. Because let me tell you there’s just so many families that need our help. We are just getting started. We want to provide access to the internet to as many families possible, looking at solutions as I speak. We want to do everything in our power to save our people, our children, our community, our culture. Can I please get connected with this family"
This is the post in full:
According to the United Nations, roughly 46% of the world's population is not connected to the internet.