By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS) — Cook County is joining forces with Comcast to provide free internet service to suburban public housing families with school age kids.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle explained why the program is so important in the race to close the digital divide.

She said the educational challenges we’re all facing now during the pandemic are even greater than those she faced as a teacher years ago.

“In fact, they’re greater than what we’ve ever seen in modern history, and that leaves us trying to connect teachers and students in new and creative ways. We must now use technology to provide meaningful instruction to our young people,”

Preckwinkle said a recent national survey shows 80% of white households in the U.S. have internet access, compared to 67% of Black households and 60% of Latinx households.

This new partnership will bring internet service to 14,000 children in 6,500 households in the Cook County suburbs.