A Lancaster County nonprofit is working to remove a barrier thousands of Lancaster County families face as students shift to online instruction amid the statewide schools shutdown: internet access.

The Steinman Foundation is allocating $100,000 to help families, from Lancaster city to the Southern End, connect to the internet. The effort, foundation President Shane Zimmerman said, is part of an “overarching strategy to address immediate needs in Lancaster County as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Census data, as well as information gathered by Lancaster County school district technology coordinators, shows 2,000 to 2,500 families with school-aged children lack internet access. The foundation’s goal is to meet the needs of 1,500 of those families.

Those who may be eligible to participate include families whose children qualify for free or reduced lunch at school, families who have been stripped of employment because of the coronavirus pandemic and families, such as those in rural areas, who live beyond the service area of cable providers.

Low-income families who register by April’s end may qualify for six months of free internet from Comcast’s Internet Essentials program.

Information on how to apply should be available next week; schools will connect with families and provide more details.

The Steinman Foundation is a local, independent family foundation funded by companies that make up Steinman Communications. Those companies include LNP Media Group.

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