A photo showing two young girls sat outside a Taco Bell to connect to the free WiFi so they could do their school work has gone viral.
The heart-wrenching shot shows the two Salinas City Elementary School District students sat cross-legged on the ground with their laptops and a notepad in front of them.
The photo, which has been shared widely on social media, brought the issue of a 'digital divide' into conversation, as pupils across the US continue with distance learning.
Sharing the photo on Instagram, the original poster wrote: "My mom sent me this picture today. These 2 young girls were looking for a place with WiFi to do their school work so they sat near Taco Bell to connect to the free WiFi.
"A lot of us don't have to worry about having a proper WiFi connection or a quiet place to work from home. Every student from preschool through college should have free access to reliable WiFi especially now. What can we do as a community to pull together for students who need something as simple as WiFi in order to succeed?"
The post has since picked up more than 61,000 likes and has made its way on Twitter and Facebook.
In a statement, Salinas City Elementary School District said it was aware of the ongoing concerns over internet access for some pupils and that it had since provided a hotspot for the family of the girls in the viral photo.
The district also said it had ordered more hotspots to supply to other families who were struggling.
Amy Ish, president of the board at the Salinas City Elementary School District told KION: "The digital divide is very real and delays in receiving needed technology are a statewide concern, we are grateful the state is making technology a priority and look forward to receiving these hotspots in our district."
Students in the district who need internet access have been asked to contact their schools Monday to Friday from 8.30 to 3.30pm for assistance.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 14 percent of US children aged between three and 18 don't have internet access at home - that's the equivalent of more than nine million kids.
Respondents gave various reasons for not having home internet. While some simply said they didn't want it, 34 percent said it was because they were unable to afford it and four percent explained that an internet connection wasn't available in the area where they lived.
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