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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Marshall

The Digital Divide, COVID-19 and CACFP

Last month the Roundtable published a guide for remote visit protocols to help CACFP sponsors create their own policies around remote visits. When creating this guide of key considerations the Remote Visit Protocol Workgroup discussed the realities barriers to technology. "Prioritized equity and integrity within the CACFP. The Remote Visit Protocol Workgroup acknowledges the diversity across CACFP sponsors and program operators and extensively discussed how that may affect access to technology. These key considerations uphold the integrity of the CACFP without creating barriers."

As our CACFP community continues to navigate operating with integrity during the pandemic we can rely on research about the digital divide and lean on other industry's innovations to reach communities that experience the gap in technology.

The Pew Research Center published a fact sheet in June of 2019 depicting their 15 year documentation of use of the internet in people's homes. Like many issues that have been exposed exponentially about our systemic problems, COVID-19 has also shed light on the digital divide.

"Data from the Pew Research Center affirms that the digital divide cuts across both racial and socioeconomic lines: 92 percent of Americans with an annual income of $75,000 or more have home broadband, compared to just 56 percent of those making less than $30,000; and 79 percent of white adults have home broadband, compared to just 66 percent of Black adults and 61 percent of Hispanic adults. As a result of these disparities, the social impact sector is confronting the reality that those who are most acutely impacted by COVID-19 and in need of services are also the most difficult to access at this time." (LeAnn Kelch, Key Takeaways from COVID-19 and the Digital Divide)

LA2050 hosted a virtual forum called "COVID-19 and the Digital Divide" as their grantees pivoted their services to virtual programming. It can be viewed here. The key takeaways post gives you an idea of what people are doing and experiencing which is discussed in the virtual forum. October 5th, LA2050 published a COVID-19 Virtual Learning Guide to provide free and low-cost resources to support learning at home which might be helpful to share with providers or afterschool programs trying to provide virtual enrichment activities. It includes links to help people get internet access.

Share your virtual world story with us. Do you support individuals, centers, homes or families that are part of this digital divide? How are you handling it? Are you experiencing it yourself? Share in the comments below or email me


Our conference has more on racial and social justice, innovation throughout the pandemic, and remote reviews. Take a peek at our line up of sessions, schedule of live sessions and register! Registration closes on November 13th!

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