Wayne County School IT Specialist Nathan Foster checks on the WiFi connection to the bus parked in the Tradeway Shopping Center.
Nathan Foster gave the connection a thumbs up, so it is ready for parents to drive their students to the parking lot so they can work on their assignments, if they do not have a connection at their home.
Monticello Elementary fourth grader Silas Neal works on an assignment in Google Classroom remotely.
Wayne County Schools are happy to announce a new Wi-Fi access point for Wayne County students called the Cardinal Hot Spot. A traveling Wayne County School Bus #209 has been equipped with a Wi-Fi connection, which can be used by students who lack internet accessibility during virtual learning.
Currently, families can find the mid-sized bus parked in front of the Save-A-Lot grocery store in the middle of the Tradeway Shopping Center parking lot. Other future locations for the bus may be at the Wal-Mart Shopping Center and the Elk Spring Valley Church parking lot on KY 92. Besides the Cardinal Hot Spot bus, the most popular Wi-Fi spot on the school campus is at the high school student parking lot. Now that limited area will be expanded out more into the community with the help of the bus, as well as three local businesses.
“Parents can pull up within 150 feet of the bus and their child’s Chromebook will automatically connect,” explained Wayne County Schools Technology Director Johnny Chaplin. “Student Chromebooks are the only device that will connect.”
Wayne County Schools Technology Department came up with the idea to help students who may not have internet at their home or perhaps relative’s home where they stay during the daytime.
Fortunately, 95 percent of Wayne County’s students have found a way to get access to the internet. But, the school district wants to make sure every student is covered so they can work virtually and not fall behind. Last spring when the pandemic started, only 75 percent of the student body had internet connections from home. Recently discounted internet services for students has helped families afford the extra expense.
“We’re working with CTS to put up to 15 more hot spots around town,” noted Chaplin. “For instance, a hot spot at the Susie Fire Department will be coming soon. We also have three more devices coming that will be placed at local businesses.”
Community Telecom Service is providing the fiber and the school district is providing the device to connect to hundreds and hundreds of the Chromebooks that are rented to students each year. Student Chromebooks are valuable tools that facilitate student learning and are currently in high demand nationwide. Wayne County Schools has tried to order more Chromebooks for students, since May, however, they are still back ordered since schools across the country are all competing for them.
“We appreciate our partnership with CTS on this Cardinal Hot Spot project,” said Chaplin. “We just want to make sure we reach every student.”