Local nonprofit covers WiFi bill for Philadelphia students in need

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Friday is the first day in a month that Rayiana Williams has had access to her school work.

The 16-year-old got the laptop from the School District of Philadelphia weeks ago, but didn't have access to WiFi.

"I had to email my teachers that I hadn't had internet and stuff," said Williams.

She's one of several students without reliable internet and forced to e-learn as COVID-19 shuttered schools.

"They gave them computers with no internet and they've been losing out on a lot of work," said Sherry Williams, Rayiana's mom.

Philly-based nonprofit New Options More Opportunities wants to make sure students don't fall behind. NOMO says it will provide free WiFi for families in need, so long as they confirm their child is enrolled.

"A lot of parents are going through hardships, they're not able to get WiFi," said Rickey Duncan, NOMO Executive Director. "That should get them through the rest of the school year."

Initially, the district suggested students e-learn in parking lots with free WiFi, but changed after push back from parents. With high demands, securing free wireless hot spots for students has been a challenge.

NOMO got Williams connected, but the student worries if she'll be able to catch up on her work.

"I'm going to do as much as I can," Willams said. "I'm going to do all my work that I'm missing."

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