Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration unveiled a statewide initiative to supply internet access to low-income homes as Kentucky schools open with digital learning because of the coronavirus.
The $8 million investment is meant to close the “digital divide” leaving some children in rural and urban areas without broadband access at home, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman said Tuesday. The initiative will limit monthly costs for low-income homes with K-12 students to have internet access.
About 32,000 Kentucky children lack internet access in their homes, she said.
Beshear also signed a new executive order for the early release of hundreds more prisoners in a preventive step to control the COVID-19 pandemic. Some prisons have been hard hit by the outbreak.
J. Michael Brown, secretary of Beshear’s executive Cabinet, said nearly 650 inmates were included in the latest round of commutations. The inmates — convicted of non-violent offenses — were identified as either medically vulnerable to COVID-19 or were months away from completing their sentences.
Meanwhile, Beshear announced 688 new coronavirus cases across Kentucky and 10 more virus-related deaths. Kentucky’s positivity rate — a rolling figure reflecting the average number of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 — edged back above 5%, he said.