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Schools prepare to give students technology package while virtually learning

Posted at 6:12 PM, Jul 30, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — Students are facing a lot of challenges with remote learning and one of those challenges is making sure they have a WiFi connection, however, schools are giving hotspots to students who will be learning from home.

Kelly Grygiel, Northwest Schools Communications and Marketing Manager said the schools has budgeted $1.5 million for new technology for students.

Each student will receive a Chromebook or iPad and a hotspot.

“So with our technology, ppe, hotspots, everything we’re estimated $1.5 million.”

Grygiel said there are about 3,500 students in her district and about 35 percent of the students have said they will be learning virtually for the school year.

Schools are trying to manage giving students a strong WiFi signal while they work from home.

“It is very rural so it’s hard to get service in some areas,” said Grygiel.

The hotspots are built to be able to adapt to that challenge.

Grygiel said, “Maybe Verizon didn’t pick up a very good signal in the area but Sprint was better. So these hotspots will automatically flip over to whatever signal is best. And then they also do all the filtering for us for educational purposes. So students can’t stream Netflix. They’re getting on there to do their school work, etc.”

Grygiel said the hot spots will look similar to an average home router like this one.

Lansing Superintendent Sam Sinicropi said it’s hard to buy new hotspots since they are in such high demand.

Sinicropi said he learned each student needs their own Chromebook or iPad if they are going to be learning from home.

He said, ”We ended up doing one per family and it doesn’t help the family if there are a couple of kids that need it.”

Fox 47 compared the cost of different plans offering fast internet speeds 100 megabits per second.

Depending on the service provider you can expect to pay anywhere from $35 to $50 a month.

Many wireless carriers also offer wireless hotspot plans.

Reach out to your provider for more information.

For families not looking to upgrade or purchase internet packages there are multiple free WiFi hotspots in the Lansing area, including many public libraries.

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