I am the mother of four children. Two are students at Smyth Elementary and two are in daycare. We live in the Little Italy neighborhood, and have been told by Comcast, AT&T, and other providers that it is not possible to have internet installed in our home because the infrastructure is not in place in the neighborhood.
Not having the internet at home has made life difficult for my family in many ways. For my children to participate in school during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to pick up assignment packets from Smyth, take pictures of the completed work, and submit them through my phone. We have only been able to participate in regular class time about once per week when we go to grandma's house during the day. My two younger kids have not been able to take advantage of online educational shows and resources for early learners.
For myself, not having internet at home makes it difficult to complete job applications. I have been able to do some on my phone, but it requires data and I have not been able to do as many as I would like. I have also been unable to access social services and find other community resources that could help my family during this pandemic.
We need to ensure all families have access to the internet at home in 2020. How can a family like mine keep up in a pandemic if we cannot fully participate in remote learning and cannot adequately search for employment? I thank CPS and the City of Chicago for taking this important first step in making the internet accessible to all Chicago families. I hope it includes addressing pockets of Chicago, like my neighborhood, where the internet cannot currently be connected.
-Monique M., Near West Side