As shelter-in-place ordinates continue to keep families in their homes and schools from opening after a long hiatus, students and employees alike are learning how to study and work remotely.
Within this transition will come complication, mainly with low-income families who will have a hard time adjusting to this change in scenery, either due to lack of resources, internet connection, etc., leaving children in these households unable to learn and keep up with their studies.
In light of this issue, the Austin Independent School District (ISD) in Texas assembled 110 school buses equipped with WiFi capabilities – and have positioned them in neighborhoods around the district, so children in need will have the capability to participate in the school’s online learning programs.
“As we prepare for the possibility of extended school closures, we know that an Internet connection is a lifeline and a learning link for our students,” said chief technology officer for Austin ISD Kevin Schwartz, according to CNN.
The buses, powered by a $600,000 grant from education technology provider Kajeet, will connect directly up to the student’s school computers – one more thing low-income families in this district don’t have to worry about – and provide WiFi up to 300 feet away.
“Austin ISD will be deploying many of our 500+ Kajeet Wi-Fi/Internet enabled school buses to locations around our school district so that students can connect using our district Chromebooks,” Schwartz added.
Following the coronavirus outbreak, students in grades 3-7 received Chromebook laptops for the purpose of continuing onine learning from home while the school is closed. Grades 8-12 were already provided devices before the outbreak began.