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Idaho nonprofit works to provide computers, laptops to students in need for upcoming school year

Idaho Business for Education is launching a new phase called 'Close the Divide' to collect computers, internet access for students in need.

BOISE, Idaho — Editor's note: Close the Divide statewide laptop will now take place on Wednesday, August 5. Gov. Brad Little has drafted a proclamation of the event and is set to sign it on Wednesday.

Idaho Business for Education (IBE), a local nonprofit organization, is entering a new phase of their "Close the Divide" initiative. In this new phase, the organization will work to provide laptops, computers and internet access to students in need for the upcoming school year.

A survey conducted by the Idaho State Board of Education showed that nearly 200,000 students do not have access to a computer at home, and 30,000 do not have internet access. 

As the school year approaches, many local districts are giving parents and students the option to opt-in to remote learning. Many students, however, may not have that option due to limited access to internet learning tools.

"If we do not Close the Divide, these students who don't have these learning tools will not have an equal opportunity to learn should the COVID-19 virus force students to learn part of the time or all of the time at home," said IBE President Rod Gramer. "It is imperative that we get these resources to students for the 2020-21 school year."

IBE is asking businesses and individuals to donate spare computers that can be given to Idaho students for the upcoming school year. Donations can be made to regional areas by going to the organization's website and selecting the region closest to you.

IBE is also accepting funds that will be used to purchase computers and internet access for students in need.

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