In response to the closure of a majority of Colorado school districts and the transition to online learning for students across the state, The Colorado Futures Center is releasing its latest study: Who are Colorado’s School-Age Children Without Access to Internet? This brief is the first release by the Center since Jennifer Newcomer, former director of Shift Research Lab, joined as Research Director in early April.

Much has been written about the nearly 1 in 20 school-age children in Colorado who are living in households without internet. This brief is designed to help Colorado leaders and decision makers better understand who these children are, where they live, and how Colorado’s digital divide has the potential to widen the state’s existing educational achievement gap.

Specifically, the 54,000 school-age children in Colorado living in households reporting no internet access are:

While access to the internet is necessary, it’s not all that children need to thrive in a distance learning environment. Our state’s most vulnerable children are at risk of falling further behind their peers if the only support Colorado provides these young learners is an internet connection. As programs emerge to support households without internet connectivity, we urge all of Colorado to think more creatively, reach beyond technology-only solutions, and consider these questions:

This brief, which is attached here for your review, takes the important first step of better understanding the children who are at the greatest risk of falling behind in school because of COVID-19’s impact on Colorado’s education system.

Please let us know if you are interested in speaking with us about our research, the findings, and why Colorado leaders must think beyond technology infrastructure when addressing the impact that the current transition to online learning could have on our state’s most vulnerable children.

Editor’s Notes: Originally published as a media release by the Colorado Futures Center.