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Expanding WiFi access for students in Queen Anne's County

Posted at 4:52 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 17:24:05-04

Home learning is the new norm for 2020. That's been challenging, but those hurdles are higher when you can't get on the internet.

Greg Pilewski is the Deputy Superintendent for Queen Anne's County Public Schools. There are just under 8,000 students in the county, most of them live on Kent Island with good WiFi connectivity.

When you go a little farther east and north of Kent Island into more farm country, the internet service falls off significantly. So they came up with a solution.

To help with spotty or lack of WiFi, the county bought 100 mobile WiFi devices and have three hundred more coming in about a week. Close to 1000 students need them.

A hand full of teachers who have internet problems got them first, now all the seniors and juniors that need one have one.

By the end of the year, they hope to have all that need the portable hot spots in place. That's phase one, phase two is to put WiFi transmitters accessible from school parking lots. Pull up and log on.

They didn't have enough portable WiFi units for every students and the hot spots at the school can be 30 to 40 minutes away from a students home so they came up with another solution.

Why not install a WiFi transmitter in a school bus and instead of students driving a half hour or so to get to the school for WiFi, the WiFi in the bus comes to them.

"Some of those local communities that just maybe have a post office and a fire hall, that might be able to reach more students as well," said Pilewski.

So with this in place, learning from home is full speed ahead. With the excuse of poor internet service off the table, the alibi of no internet is off the list.