Connect Delaware / CARES Act
On August 24, 2020, Governor John Carney announced that $20 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding will be used to build out additional infrastructure across Delaware, gather strategic data through a statewide speed survey, and acquire equipment and services for families in financial need.
As a part of these efforts we have launched Connect Delaware, a program designed to support student success by providing free broadband services for low-income students in Districts and Charters.
How will schools determine which services or products are needed?
School districts and charters will determine what product will best meet their students' needs based on available information about providers' service territory.
This information can be found in the Service Catalog in the Needs Assessment.
What happens if a student transfers to a new district?
Students who are transient or expect to be transient might be best served by a Mobile Hotspot device, which they can bring with them to anywhere they might need access to online learning. School districts and charters may use their best judgement to select the type and amount of products that will best serve their students.
Are CIPA requirements addressed?
CIPA filtering is not a requirement for services in this program.
What level of connectivity does Connect Delaware provide?
Broadband services available through the Connect Delaware program provide the level of connectivity needed to run at least two video classrooms simultaneously.
Do we have to order all the equipment and services at once?
Yes. In order to get Delaware’s students connected as soon as possible, this single order process will ensure the most efficient way to order, ship, and distribute equipment and devices. Districts and charters should return their completed Needs Assessment to ConnectDelaware@delaware.gov by October 30, 2020 in order to place their order.
When should families expect to get connected?
We expect equipment and devices to be delivered to schools mid-November through December, pending any unforeseen events. At that point, the Connect Delaware program is here to help school districts and charters manage the distribution process.
The Connect Delaware Communications Team is available to provide support for your distribution efforts. We are developing a toolkit with resources you can access and customize for your needs. Reach out to us with any ideas or questions you might have about distribution at ConnectDelaware@delaware.gov with the subject line “Distribution Support.”
Who is eligible for the Connect Delaware program? For instance, are all students with special needs and ELLs eligible? What about families who definitely have need, but may not qualify for assistance due to their citizenship status?
Eligibility for Connect Delaware is based on enrollment in the following Federal Assistance Programs:
- Public Housing
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- National School Lunch Program (NSLP)/Head Start
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- The Women, Infants, and Children program (WIC)
School districts and charters may use their best judgement to determine students’ eligibility for Connect Delaware based on their students’ enrollment in these programs.
If a district is part of the community eligibility lunch program, will this mean that all students will be eligible for Connect Delaware?
Eligibility is determined on an individual basis, based on a student’s enrollment in one of the Federal Assistance Programs. Connect Delaware is designed to connect students to distance learning who would not otherwise have access to high-speed internet service. Each district or charter may use their best judgement to determine students’ eligibility for Connect Delaware based on their students’ enrollment in these programs.
Can each student who qualifies get their own device? For instance, if a family has 3 eligible students in their household, can the school district or charter request 3 devices, one for each student in that household?
Yes. Eligibility for Connect Delaware is based on each student; there can be multiple eligible students receiving service within a single household.
What happens if a student transfers to a new district?
Students who are transient or expect to be transient might be best served by a Mobile Hotspot device, which they can bring with them. School districts and charters may use their best judgement to select the type and amount of products that will best serve their students.
My district or charter has already purchased hotspots for students due to the need for remote learning during the pandemic. Does Connect Delaware allow for reimbursement for that equipment and subscription?
For hotspots and previously purchased service to be reimbursed, those hotspots and/or service had to be purchased as a result of COVID-19. If they had been purchased prior to the pandemic, they do not qualify.
If hotspots were purchased for my students previously, can I transfer them to Connect Delaware?
For continuing connectivity, the Connect Delaware program will consider including pre-purchased hotspots if the hotspots were purchased from a participating vendor on the Needs Assessment Catalog.
The Connect Delaware Program has a couple of options depending on what the vendor is willing to do. Please contact the vendor on behalf of your district/charter.
- If the participating vendor is willing to move the existing accounts to this program then they would be covered.
- If the vendor is not willing to do this, or your current provider is not one of the Connect Delaware participating vendors, you may request the number of hotspots you need for eligible students on your Needs Assessment and then cancel your existing devices once your minimum term has expired.
All Needs Assessments for Connect Delaware program need to be returned by October 30, 2020 to be included in this program.
My district/charter has worked to provide access to students through Comcast as a Sponsored Partner. We have provided families with a code to have their access billed to the district/charter. Can this be transferred to the Connect Delaware program?
Yes. Please send us the numbers of students that you currently have in the IEPP to ConnectDelaware@delaware.gov.
More information will be shared regarding this initiative as it becomes available.