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Hotspots Help Students Receive Internet Access

Hotspots Help Students Receive Internet Access

 Since last March, with the need to quickly deploy remote learning due to school closures because of the Coronavirus, Craven County Schools has been working to help get our families connected to Wi-Fi who currently do not have internet access or have unreliable internet access. When students and teachers began working at home, the need for internet access was identified by our teachers and school leaders for students who were unable to access their classwork and receive instruction delivered by their teachers via Zoom.

 The school system’s Technology Department quickly sprang into action by providing mobile hotspots to help families get connected. Fortunately, at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year a wonderful partnership with The One Million Project had already been established. This partnership provided a total of 484 hotspots for our high school students since last school year. Of course, the need for Wi-Fi access expanded beyond just our high school students so the school system purchased additional 550 hotspots to help fill this gap. This school year, after accessing the use of the mobile hotspots and limits on data, the school system utilized CARES Act funding to purchase an additional 336 hotspots so our students are able to access the digital resources needed for their schoolwork.

 Mobile hotspots have been a wonderful temporary solution for many of our families however, in some of our rural areas in the eastern and western part of Craven County, where cell tower range is very limited, hotspots do not work.  Conversations with county and state leaders have already begun on improving the county’s physical broadband infrastructure as a way to ensure lasting connectivity. Craven County Schools acknowledges there is still more work to be done and will continue to address the growing need for online access for all students. Creative ideas for providing WI-FI are currently being discussed and the connections with our community partners continues to expand. We are so grateful for the amazing organizations throughout Craven County, who have been so gracious to provide free Wi-Fi access to our families during this time.