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Lewis County C-1 Schools ask parents to take survey to get better broadband service

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LEWISTOWN, Mo. (WGEM) -- Broadband access is a struggle in rural parts of Lewis County, making it hard for teachers to do their job.

Now the district wants parents to help them expand access in Lewis, Adair, Clark, Knox, Schuyler and Scotland Counties.

Superintendent John French said Tuesday when kids have to go to remote learning, they might end up days behind schedule in class because they can't keep up at home.

That's why he said he wants parents to fill out a survey by The Northeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission, or NEMO RPC, which is doing a study to find out which communities don't have adequate broadband service.

NEMO RPC officials said they want to have a more accurate assessment of which areas are underserved in today's broadband market to potentially fund and upgrade service.

French said the situation gained more attention once the pandemic hit.

"The problem becomes, again, if they're quarantined in their home because they're either sick or a household contact is someone who is. Then, if they don't have internet at home, they don't have any way to do that," he said.

French said around 40 percent of the nearly 900 students in the district do not have adequate broadband service.

Lewis County C-1 Social Studies Teacher Tricia Hinton said some of her students still don't have adequate broadband service at home. If those students have to quarantine for COVID-19, they don't have internet to do online schooling.

"They might try to turn their parents' phone into a hotspot or they try to go to a gas station and connect and that's just not a reliable internet source for them," she said. "So we are still having to work around teaching them how to access things online, offering them time here at school."

Lewis County Schools Technology Coordinator Susan Moore wants parents to fill out the survey.

"With the information, it's going to help us be able to maybe saturate the area more with internet which is necessary," Moore said.

She thinks better broadband service could improve students' education.

"The kids, at that point, could join in the classroom during the day and not miss that unit of instruction which would help them stay on track where they need to be," Moore said.

Speed Tests and Surveys

Adair County:

Clark County:

Knox County:

Lewis County:

Schuyler County:

Scotland County:

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Rebecca Duffy

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