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Families in Appalachia describe challenges of online learning

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Main Street, in Beattyville, Lee County, Ky., a community of 8,000 people deep in the Appalachian Mountains, July 29, 2020. – AP Photo / Bryan Woolston

Piper Hudspeth Blackburn, Report for America reporter, Louisville, made the most of her first major enterprise story in Kentucky, reporting deep in the mountains of Appalachia on the dilemma facing parents with spotty internet service as they weigh the challenge of a new school year.

Together with freelance photographer Bryan Woolston, Blackburn sharpened the focus on an often overlooked segment of the population to demonstrate the unique challenges they face, doing so with sensitivity and respect.

Her story appeared in USA Today, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other national media outlets.

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Susanne Willis stands in front of the Lee County Courthhouse while using the public WIFI, in Beattyville, Ky., July 29, 2020. As in other places, parents and officials are concerned about the virus, but dramatically limited internet access in many rural areas also means kids could fall seriously behind if the pandemic keeps them home again. – AP Photo / Bryan Woolston
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