No internet service creates panic for parents in rural Stafford County before start of virtual school year

No internet, no virtual learning. That’s a major concern for some families living in a rural part of Stafford County in Northern Virginia.

They’re worried their kids won’t be able to log online in the new school year beginning this fall because none of them have access to the internet.

It’s an issue that FOX 5 viewer, Nichole Dowdy in Stafford wrote to us about.

“Our kids need high speed internet,” said Dowdy. “There’s no reason in 2020 that we don’t have internet. We don’t need Internet cafes or mobil hotspots.”

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Dowdy went on to say that she and her husband have fought for internet service for 10 years but each time they are told it’ll happen in the next year and then again in the following year, ending with no results.

The couple has three children, two of whom are in the second grade and the third one is going into Kindergarten.

The virtual school year in the county begins August 31st.

Dowdy said that time is running out for her kids and about 14 other families who reside on Flippo Road in the Griffis-Widewater District. She said the students don’t have a reliable internet source and lack cell service as well.

Dowdy explained that Comcast quoted her a price tag of $39,000 for the internet provider to run cable internet just to their home. She said it would cost nearly $90,000 to reach the homes of the other school-going kids who live toward the end of the same road.

Dowdy said she can’t understand why a crab shack that is only a mile from her residence has internet but oddly enough, the homes along Flippo Road don’t.

“We can’t be a forgotten street,” said Marissa Crane.  

Crane moved to the area from Florida back in April. Her husband is currently deployed while she has to figure out how her one high schooler and elementary school daughter will start their brand new school year in a brand new area, online.

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“We can’t watch everyone around us get the same consideration except for us. All we are asking for is the same rights not luxuries just the same rights.”

FOX 5’s Ayesha Khan reached out to Dr. Scott Kizner, superintendent for Stafford County Public Schools. In an email statement he said:

“I was made aware of this today and I asked my technology department to seek some solutions for that area.

Our school system is addressing the concern with hot spots and internet cafes. It might be a broader county issue for that part of the county.”

Ayesha also contacted County Supervisor Tinesha Allen who requested to speak with her over the phone, however, the conversation did not immediately take place on Tuesday.