The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated technological inequities in Boulder, notably amongst older adults, however the metropolis hopes its new Bridging the Digital Divide program will assist knock down these limitations and enhance entry for older adults and schoolchildren.
Boulder is funding this system with $100,000 in federal funds from the Coronavirus Support, Reduction and Financial Safety Act. Via this system, which is a partnership between Boulder Public Library and the Housing and Human Providers Division, adults age 55 and older and school-age kids can obtain a free Chromebook or iPad and hotspot. The units are theirs to maintain, whereas the hotspots are paid for by the remainder of 2020. Persons are accountable for the hotspot information prices after that.
In accordance with Aimee Schumm, eServices supervisor with Boulder Public Library, hotspots already had been obtainable for college students, however the metropolis noticed a necessity to offer help to older adults, too.
“To have the ability to increase this to older adults has been super-important for us as a result of it’s an enormous a part of our group, and we wish to ensure that they’re taken care of proper now and never feeling remoted,” Schumm mentioned.
Contemplating older adults may be extra weak to the coronavirus, they’re extra prone to expertise social isolation, which Eden Bailey, Boulder’s older grownup providers supervisor, known as a public well being menace.
“There are well being results which might be linked to social isolation and so with many applications occurring on-line, we actually wish to make it possible for any older grownup that desires to attach digitally has that chance,” she mentioned.
Julie Causa, spokesperson with Boulder, famous older adults usually are most certainly to take part in and discover connection by dwell applications hosted by town. Offering units permits folks to take care of a way of connection whereas all the things is going on just about.
Boulder is working with native nonprofits to help in establishing the units and ongoing technical assist.
Shifting ahead, Boulder hopes to proceed this system. The $100,000 grant can be utilized by the top of 2020, so town is working to search out one other resolution that may enable it to take action.
“The irony about that is we had deliberate to develop a program this 12 months round this very factor — bridging the digital divide — after which COVID hit and all the things obtained scattered,” Bailey mentioned. “We’ll proceed to try to discover a resolution to proceed this sort of program. We’re very dedicated to fairness by way of the digital divide in our group.”
Gadgets can be found for choose up at Boulder’s Predominant Library, 1001 Arapahoe Ave., from 9:15 a.m. to six:30 p.m. Oct. 22 and from 12:15 to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 23 and 24. Nonetheless, these dates received’t be the one time to select up a tool, and Boulder is discovering methods to ship units to homebound seniors.
residents who’re 55 or older can name 303-441-4388 for extra data. Households with school-age kids can name 303-218-8562.