WIREGRASS (WDHN) — A big topic of discussion between Alabama lawmakers in the 2022 legislative session is to use funds from the $772 million pandemic relief money to expand broadband across Alabama.

Local superintendents say many of their students don’t have access to the internet at home, and this has caused issues for those who are being affected by COVID.

“We have some areas that the internet access is very poor,” Henry County Schools Superintendent, Lori Beasley said. “I mean really and truly we’ve had to use paper packets for them because they do not have what’s needed, as far as the internet goes.”

“We’ve tried to put some technology in place to implement some things for students that are missing school,” Houston County Schools Superintendent Brandy White said. “We’re trying to keep them from missing instructional time and the paper packets it does give them some busywork, but it doesn’t do the same as providing that instruction with the technology.”

The broadband expansion could provide more resources to students outside of the classroom setting and even the field to all schools across the board.

It would give access, not to just some students, but would give access to all students,” Beasley said. “It’s giving us equality among all of our students, and not just in some areas.”

To see who in the Wiregrass is being affected by broadband speeds, you can see this map created by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.