Bloomington finalizing digital equity plan, with recommendation for new staff position

At a sparsely attended public meeting last Tuesday, Bloomington’s IT director, Rick Dietz and consultants from Maryland-based CTC Technology and Energy made themselves available for feedback on the city’s draft digital equity strategic plan.

The introduction to the plan describes “digital equity” as a situation where “all individuals can fully participate in work, school, society, and economic opportunity by having sufficient access and ability to use broadband and computing devices.”

The question of digital equity has become more pressing during the COVID-19 pandemic, as full participation in work and school have presupposed adequate hardware and connectivity to the internet.

The draft plan incorporates pandemic perspectives from representatives of Monroe County Community School Corporation and Monroe County Public Library.

According to the draft plan, “The emergency response programs that MCCSC took on, such as the hotspot program, created significant administrative burdens and affected MCCSC staff’s ability to do their core jobs.” The draft plan continues, “MCCSC’s tech support staff became responsible for direct communication with approximately 11,000 students and 17,000 parents.”

According to the draft plan, the public library “reported a surge in e-library usage and a vast unmet need for laptops and hotspot devices, requiring more funding.”

The draft includes several recommendations, among them the suggestion that a new city staff position be hired to focus on digital equity issues. Continue reading “Bloomington finalizing digital equity plan, with recommendation for new staff position”