A partnership in South Bend to help provide internet access to public school students who do not have service at home is expanding.

The Citywide Classroom South Bend initiative has already served about 1,000 households by providing Wi-Fi hotspots or a Comcast Internet Essential service package.  Those connections are serving more than 1,700 students in the South Bend school district.

The partnership, comprised of the city of South Bend, the school district and local nonprofit enFocus, now says free internet access is available to any South Bend Community School Corp. families with students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

Nearly 65% of South Bend students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, according to the Indiana Department of Education.

“Through the work of this partnership, we have eased the burden on our students and their families during a global pandemic,” said Patrick Stalvey, chief technology officer for the South Bend Community School Corp. “While we have achieved so much over these last few months, we still have much left to do to empower at-home learning,”

According to CCSB, roughly 30% of South Bend’s households lack home internet access. The organization says the $1.8 million provided through the Governors Emergency Education Relief grant allows the partnership to distribute more than 2,200 at-home internet packages and 2,000 Wi-Fi hotspots to students in South Bend.

The organization is currently accepting applications. Click here to learn more. Families can also contact administrators at their schools to inquire about eligibility.