Up to 1.7 million K-12 students in Oregon and Washington are getting access to Verizon’s Distance Learning Program. Today Verizon announced that it has signed an agreement with the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to provide reliable and affordable Internet access for up to 1.7 million students across Oregon and Washington.

As part of the agreement, K-12 public school districts in Oregon and Washington will be able to purchase discounted service plans for Verizon unlimited 4G LTE Internet access, mobile device management (MDM) and other security solutions required for student use.

“Bridging the digital divide by making sure students have access to devices and connectivity is crucial to fostering equity and excellence for Oregon’s learners during distance learning,” ODE Director Colt Gill said.

In addition to the most recent ODE partnership, Verizon has inked a series of agreements with other state and stand-alone school districts to provide students with reliable Internet connections, devices, compliance and security software, and other needed education solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Distance Learning Program is available in 40 states and the District of Columbia. Over the course of the pandemic, Verizon has reached deals with the Los Angeles Unified School District and school districts in California, Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, and Texas, among others.

In a July 23 deal, Verizon signed on to help Georgia, as well as public schools in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The deal will impact 12.5 million students. An Aug. 8 agreement with the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS) will ensure 150,000 K-12 students who did not previously have Internet access at home will receive discounted Internet plans. The State of Oklahoma announced on July 31 that 175 Oklahoma school districts were awarded mobile internet access and devices through 50,000 Verizon Unlimited 4GE data plans and Jetpacks. The Oklahoma State Department of Education was able to purchase the 50,000 devices at a discounted rate from Verizon.

On the East Coast, the State of Massachusetts signed an agreement to help connect its students, as well as students in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and the District of Columbia. In total, 4.7 million students were aided by the Distance Learning Program, according to an Aug. 20 announcement. Also on Aug. 20, Verizon announced an agreement with the State of Texas that will impact Texas as well as Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. As part of the agreement, an additional 18.9 million students were brought into the Distance Learning Program.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs