At least 500 students across Rhode Island still don’t have the technology to access online classes needed for distance learning, according to estimates from the state Department of Education. There’s a new effort to close that gap.

For nearly a month, students and teachers have been working on classes through email, video conferences, and websites. But the state department of education estimates hundreds across the state are still without the internet or technology they need to work online. 

Schools handed out thousands of laptops in the weeks before they closed. Telecommunications companies have stepped in to offer free and reduced-price WiFi, though vendors are mainly relying on school districts to find those families that need the services. Phone carriers have enabled hotspots through smart phones.

Now, the Rhode Island Foundation is providing $100,000 to help get the remaining students online. Public schools in Rhode Island have been closed since mid-March. Governor Gina Raimondo is expected to announce a possible extension this week.