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How the Politics Behind Rural Internet Access Leave Parts of Indiana ‘In The Dark Ages’

Before the coronavirus crisis, schools in hilly, forested Brown County, Indiana, didn’t expect students to work online at home.

Even with a growing fiber network in the area, too many families couldn’t connect to the internet, and those who did often used hot spots or unreliable connections. So schools used workarounds: Students did their assignments offline at home and logged on once they got to school to upload work, said Superintendent Laura Hammack.

But during the pandemic, that approach no longer works, and school leaders are finding longstanding access gaps more difficult to bridge.

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