Report highlights the urgency for equitable access to learning during COVID-19

Parent Institute for Quality Education (PIQE) is honored to be part of the Equitable Distance Learning Taskforce – a county-wide group of school districts, education experts, non-profit organizations, and community leaders convened by the Classroom of the Future Foundation and San Diego for Every Child, in partnership with San Diego County Office of Education.

The Taskforce’s first report, : ‘Beyond the Hotspot: Supporting Equitable Distance Learning in San Diego County,’ was recently released that highlights the urgency for every San Diego County student to have equitable access to learning during COVID-19.

The report determines that technological devices and sufficient connectivity are a necessary educational investment, but not enough. For distance learning to be equitable–which has taken on an increased emphasis during COVID-19–support must also ensure educators have the training they need, parents and caregivers have culturally and linguistically competent resources to support their student’s learning, and students have supportive environments which contribute to an enriching place to learn.

“We all have a responsibility and role to play in supporting San Diego’s children, youth, and families,” says Erin Hogeboom, Director of San Diego for Every Child. “COVID-19 has disproportionately hit and affected our community, and getting equitable distance learning right impacts everything from a child’s educational experience to the well-being of San Diego’s future economy. This problem is big enough for all of us to be part of the solution.”

The report builds on initial findings from the Classroom of the Future Foundation, which determined that approximately 100,000 PreK-12 students in San Diego County lack access to the internet at home or are under-connected. ‘Beyond the Hotspot’ advances these findings by looking at the geographic impacts of economic and poverty indicators in conjunction with data on Internet and technological access.

The Taskforce is now working to connect donors–be they individual, philanthropic, or corporate–to community-based experts already working to meet distance learning needs across our county, and ensure the recommendations of this report are implemented. The approach and geographic focus of these recommendations are informed both by data and community input.

Some important data points the study includes:

  • Due to distance learning since the Spring, the average student is likely behind seven months academically, according to the McKinsey & Company. Because of additional infrastructure disparities, this may range upwards of 10 months for Black children and 9 months for Latinx children.
  • In San Diego County, approximately 100,000 students do not have basic access to the Internet, with in-home broadband the most unlikely in the southern and northeastern parts of the county.
  • According to research done by the Parent Institute for Quality Education, in a survey of 661 parents, a quarter of the parents did not have an email address.

The multi-stakeholder Taskforce seeks to spread the message that if students will be primarily engaged in distance learning during the 2020-21 school year, we must be focused on an equitable distribution of resources, which means intentionally focusing on areas which have been disproportionately impacted. In these specific areas, educators–both in-school and out-of-school–must have the training they need, parents and caregivers must feel supported, and students must have safe places to learn, including outside of the home. This connected infrastructure is critical not only for COVID-19 response but emergency preparedness in the future.

Tax-deductible donations of any size to support both the technological and non-technological needs of school districts, such as parent support and out-of-school time partners, are welcome through the San Diego COVID-19 Children’s Fund at

For more information, visit Updates can also be found on Facebook @SanDiegoforEveryChild, Twitter @SDforEveryChild and Instagram @SDforEveryChild.