For students across Texas and around the country, bridging the digital divide and providing reliable Internet connectivity that enables distance learning for students without Internet access are among the top priorities for state governments, school districts, teachers and parents alike. Many students across the U.S. will start the 2020-2021 school year this month.

Verizon has partnered with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Connectivity initiative to provide up to 18.9 million students in Texas and 15 neighboring states with a simple and quick way to access critical distance learning technologies. Kindergarten through 12th grade (K-12) public school students in Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin will benefit from Verizon’s sponsor-state agreement with the TEA to provide schools in Texas and the 15 other states with discounted service plans for unlimited 4G LTE Internet access, mobile device management (MDM) and other security solutions required for student use.

“Governor Abbott’s Operation Connectivity Task Force, co-chaired by Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa, is comprised of many players, including business and education leaders from across Texas,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. “Because of the herculean efforts of our school districts, the nimble response of our Task Force, and the commitment of community-minded corporate partners like Verizon, we are significantly narrowing the digital divide in Texas, faster than anyone thought possible. This work will help millions of Texas children.”

Verizon’s sponsor-state agreement with the TEA is the latest in a series of distance learning enablement partnerships that now total 38 states and the District of Columbia — including Los Angeles Unified and the California State Department of EducationGeorgia Department of EducationSouth Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Oklahoma State Department of Education — that aim to provide every student in the U.S. with access to a reliable Internet connection, a device and other education solutions they need, whether in a full-time classroom environment, distance learning from home or a combination thereof.

“Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have partnered with independent school districts and state departments of education to help bridge the digital divide, and deliver connectivity, devices and other solutions to students nationwide,” said Andrés Irlando, senior vice president and president, Public Industry and Verizon Connect at Verizon. “Verizon is committed to ensuring the 18.9 million students across Texas and the 15 neighboring states have the mission-critical connectivity and technologies they need to keep students connected and learning this fall.”

Eligible schools will be required to sign an authorized customer agreement in order to purchase from the Texas Sponsor State Distance Learning Initiative agreement. Schools and school districts interested in learning more can visit the Verizon Distance Learning Information site or call 800-317-3841.