An Upstate school district provides free WiFi Hot spots as remote learning continues


PENDLETON, SC (WSPA)– For Anderson County students who don’t have internet access to complete their work, Anderson School District Four is putting mobile devices in their hands.

The district held a WiFi hot spot drive for all students in the district at Pendleton High School on Monday night.

Although schools are empty, the staff is still working hard for its students behind the scenes.

Nearly 250 WiFi hot spots are now available for students who are without internet access during the district’s remote learning.

“Our first delivery is 210 devices. We ordered 250, that’s about 10 percent of our student population,” said Randy Abbott, Director of Information and Crisis Technology for Anderson School District 4.

The Jetpack devices have unlimited data. Students in 5K through 12th grade, will be able to connect the hot spots to their Chromebooks from anywhere in their homes. The hot spot packages have detailed instructions on how to use the devices and a cable for connection.

“We have areas that don’t have coverage, so they don’t have internet providers. So even if the parents were able to afford it, they can’t provide it for their homes,” said Melida Reeves, Principal at La France Elementary School.

This is just one of many solutions they’re trying to provide during this COVID-19 pandemic.
“Really the goal right now, is not to put undue stress on households, but really to encourage our students to be engaged in the learning process,” said Dr. Joanne Avery, Superintendent for Anderson School District 4. “It’s a different day because parents are having to assist students at home. We’re trying to provide those resources and experiences that are engaging and helpful and not stressful,” Dr. Avery added.

The District wants to increase one-on-one interaction with students and teachers using the Zoom App.

“So they don’t have to worry about out of data. They’re going to be able to stream and access all of the instruction material that we are pushing out through Google Classroom,” Abbott said.
“A lot of teachers are doing classroom wide zoom meetings, so they actually teach together as an entire class,” he added.

They believe the hot spots will lighten the burden for parents who struggle to teach their children from home.

“I’m planning to do this week, is to actually hold a Zoom meeting for parents, so I can better understand what the challenges are,” Dr. Avery said.

School officials said even though things may be different for everyone, they will continue to create new solutions to show they care.

“I want to tell our parents and our students to know that we love you guys and we’re here for you,” Reeves said.

District leaders said this is the first delivery of the devices. If you missed the event, they do have additional hot spots and a make-up day in the works.

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