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Image of students using restaurant’s free WiFi for school work goes viral, triggers debate on digital divide

The picture of the two young girls sitting outside Taco Bell with laptops and notebooks in their hand went viral on social media after an Instagram user @ms_mamie89 put out an appeal to help the students.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 10, 2020 1:09:44 pm
children outside taco bell viral pictureFollowing the incident, the family was provided with a hotspot so that the students could attend online classes from their home. (Source: @ms_mamie89/Instagram)

With Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns closing educational institutions, ushering in a switch to online learning, a picture of two children sitting outside a restaurant in California to use free WiFi for their school work has triggered a discussion on the evident digital divide across the world.

The picture of the two young girls sitting outside a Taco Bell outlet with laptops and notebooks in their hand went viral on social media after an Instagram user @ms_mamie89 put out an appeal to help the students.

“These 2 young girls were looking for a place with WiFi to do their school work so they sat near Taco Bell to connect to the free WiFi,” read the post. “Every student from preschool through college should have free access to reliable WiFi especially now. What can we do as a community to pull together for students who need something as simple as WiFi in order to succeed?” she added.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CEU4tnEFLmo/

The viral post soon caught the attention of many, including Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo. “Two of our children trying to get WiFi for their classes outside a Taco Bell in East Salinas! We must do better and solve this digital divide once and for all California students,” he tweeted.

With the incident gaining traction on social media, the Salinas City Elementary School District (SCESD), where the two girls study, reached out to them and provided a Wifi hotspot so that they could attend online classes from the comforts of their home, CNN reported.

“We know that there is thousands of other kids in a similar situation. In Salinas, there’s a lot of homes and a lot of parents who don’t even know how to use computers or how hotspots work,” Richard Gebin, public relations officer of the school, told the news website.

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