EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — Countless parents in East St. Louis say they are relying on minimal resources while struggling to gain internet access to help their children participate in remote learning at area schools during the coronavirus pandemic.
East St. Louis is a largely Black community where nearly 40% of residents live below the federal poverty line, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Melissa Lawson, a single mother of three who lives there while juggling multiple jobs, told the Belleville News-Democrat that she already had to make adjustments to get by before the pandemic after being severely injured in a car accident. She said some of the cutbacks included canceling internet service.
“Sometimes, we would go to a McDonald’s parking lot and use their Wi-Fi, and even with that, you only get so much with the hotspot,” Lawson noted. “Then you run into the problem of what if my laptop or my iPad dies. And I don’t have a nice car, so it doesn’t have the plug-ins to charge your phone and things like that.”
Two of Lawson’s children attend Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School, which provided hotspots to students after stay-at-home orders went into effect last spring.
“We found a lot of the students did not have adequate internet access,” said Dan Nickerson, the school’s principal for the past five years, who noted that around 35% of the roughly 100 families in his school had internet access challenges.
East St. Louis and neighboring Washington Park have 200 or less residential fixed internet connections per 1,000 households, the lowest rate in St. Clair County, according to an analysis of Federal Communications Commission data that was updated in 2019 based on census tracts. Primarily white and more upscale communities such as Belleville and O’Fallon have at least 800
By Chayut Setboonsarng
BANGKOK (Reuters) – Luxury fashion and auto brands in Thailand have turned to selling their products on Japanese chat app Line amid the coronavirus pandemic, tapping the country’s growing appetite for social commerce, a top executive said on Thursday.
Brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Volvo were among those that opened official accounts on the messaging app, which outranks Facebook’s WhatsApp and Rakuten’s Viber in Thailand, aiming to connect with users during a coronavirus lockdown.
“The luxury category was forced to adapt because their stores were closed,” Line Thailand chief commercial officer, Norasit Sitivechvichit, told Reuters.
Thailand earlier this year imposed a nationwide curfew and closed malls for nearly two months to contain infections.
“During the pandemic, sellers became very active,” Norasit said, adding that others sold cosmetics and fast-moving consumer goods.
Line, which charges sellers for sending messages and live streaming, said its monthly active users in Thailand grew from 44 million to 47 million this year, its second largest market after Japan.
Volvo successfully sold cars on the platform after launching in May and studying customer data, its Thailand head of marketing and digitalization, Jean-David Harel, said.
“We have an understanding of which models they own today, which interest they have and when they plan to change their existing car,” he said.
Social commerce is widely popular in Thailand, where merchants sell directly to customers through social media like Line and Facebook’s Instagram.
Line last year introduced a feature for merchants to organise inventory and online store fronts, which now has over 50,000 users.
Another tool to support sellers with customer relationship and data management is slated to launch next year.
E-commerce platform, JD Central would also launch services for sellers.
Line will soon introduce “MyRestaurant” with its food delivery app, Line Man Wongai, to