By Jonathan Oosting: For Complete Post, Click Here…
When the COVID-19 pandemic closed Michigan school buildings last March and sent students home for remote learning, Amy Zicafoose and her two children scrambled to find internet access wherever they could.
Since broadband is not available at their home in rural Jackson County, they did school work from the car in the parking lot of a coffee shop owned by a friend. They submitted papers from the driveway of her daughter’s principal. They went inside a Realtor friend’s office to use his wifi for homework and Zoom calls.
“Without the kindness of my friends and my children’s school, there’s no way that we would have been able to successfully survive with our schooling — any of us,” said Zicafoose, who completed a master’s degree in social work from Michigan State University during the pandemic while navigating life as a single mom with a high school son and a non-verbal autistic daughter.
“I don’t know how I did it.”
Zicafoose’s home in Liberty Township, about a dozen miles south of Jackson, is one of 1.2 million total — or 1 in 4 statewide — that lack a permanent fixed broadband connection, according to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration. It estimates that connecting all areas of the state could stimulate up to $2.7 billion per year in economic activity.