Without reliable internet, low-income students nationwide are falling behind because they can’t connect to participate in remote learning. In an effort to address this issue, T-Mobile has pledged to provide free internet service to students nationwide to assist with remote learning during the pandemic. 

Through a partnership with school districts nationwide, the 10-year, $10.7 billion initiative will give free wireless hotspots and high-speed data to all U.S. students who are part of free and reduced-price school lunch programs.

“Even before the pandemic, more than nine million of America’s 56 million school-age kids did not have access to reliable internet and could not complete after-school assignments,” T-Mobile said on its website. “Now, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented 50 million students are learning remotely.”

Go to T-Mobile’s Education page for more information. [LINK: https://www.t-mobile.com/business/education]

MORE ON THE PANDEMIC

R&B singer and former Temptations member, Bruce Williamson, has died from coronavirus.

The 49-year-old Los Angeles native died on Sunday in Las Vegas. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 in late August, weeks after having his gallbladder removed. 

Williamson sang with the legendary for 10 years and left in 2015.

During a meeting with CBS News on Monday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he would be vaccinated against COVID-19, if it is available before the election.

“If I could get a vaccine tomorrow, I’d do it. If it cost me the election I would do it. We need a vaccine and we need it now. We have to listen to the scientists. I would want to see what the scientists said,” Biden said. “I want full transparency on the vaccine.”

Many Americans, including Biden’s VP running mate Kamala Harris, are skeptical about a vaccine developed and distributed by the Trump administration. A recent CBS News poll found that just 21% of voters say they would get a no-cost vaccine as soon as possible if one became available, down from 32% in late July. 

According to a CNN tally, more than 37,000 college students have contracted Covid-19. All 50 states have now reported positive cases of coronavirus at colleges and universities. 

Nine biopharmaceutical companies have signed a pledge to uphold “high ethical standards,” in the development of a coronavirus vaccine, suggesting they won’t push for premature government approval. 

The companies that signed up to it are: AstraZeneca, BioNTech, Moderna, Pfizer, Novavax, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Merck.

The pledge comes after FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said the agency could consider emergency use authorization for a Covid-19 vaccine before Phase 3 trials are complete.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will vote on a “targeted” coronavirus relief package on Thursday as negotiations between Democrats and the White House remain stalled.

The slimmed-down bill is expected to cost around $500 billion. In May, House Democrats passed a $3 trillion bill, but McConnell has refused to bring the legislation to a vote.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the Republican stimulus plan “insults the intelligence of the American people,” adding the bill is an attempt to give vulnerable GOP senators some political cover.

Last week, McConnell said he doubts that Congress will reach a deal on a major relief package before the November election. 

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