The coronavirus has forced many Quad City students to study at home, highlighting how many don’t have reliable internet access.
For some families, parking lots have been a digital lifeline during the pandemic.
“Remote learning has really been such a challenge for us,” says East Moline parent Allison Papas.
For families who have the same struggles, The East Moline Public Library has been offering their Wi-Fi for free for families in need.
Laura Long, Director of the library says, “Really in the past week or so since school has started up again a lot of kids are doing things remote or hybrid. We’ve noticed a lot of children with their families or older siblings coming down to do their school work and just sitting around outside, on the grass on the concrete, on our stairs.”
Long says that’s when staff realized they had to step in. She says unfortunately their building does not have enough space to allow a lot of students in where they can properly socially distance.
“So we looked at what choices we could potentially have to do something outside, and we thought picnic tables would at least be helpful,” says Long.
Helpful for parents like Allison Pappas, who says right now using the library’s Wi-Fi is the only way she can get her daughter’s school work done.
“I’m very grateful because right now we do not have internet in my house. So being able to come to the library, and not have to sit in my hot car, and not have to run the car for air conditioning means a lot. It’s such a small gesture, but it really makes the biggest impact,” says Pappas.
Staff at the library say they are trying to come up with creative ways to still offer outside Wi-Fi even when there’s bad weather outside.