Under order from the Governor, all of Utah’s schools are recessed until May 1. Teachers and administrators from school districts along the Wasatch Back, more than ever, must rely on students having access to the internet.
North Summit School District Superintendent Jerre Holmes says they distributed tablets to all their elementary students after concluding that not all homes had devices. Thanks to the help of a local internet provider, All West Communications, every family in his district has access to Wi-Fi.
“I’m seeing things that I didn’t even know we could do. In fact, our IT director who is up on this is if you could imagine he's even seeing things that teachers have come up with to get instruction out, to do a mini lesson. At this point that's the most important thing that we can do, to stay connected to these kids, especially to those whose parents both work”
South Summit School District Superintendent Shad Sorenson says the rumors that the school year is over, are incorrect. And he says the work being done by students will continue remotely until they can come back together when safe and appropriate. Not all South Summit students and teachers have internet access in their homes.
“We have some students who don’t have devices at home, and they have come to the school and they borrowed and have taken the devices home. And, I have to give a big shout out to All West because they have provided Internet for our students and our faculty that didn't have internet in their home. We’re completely confident that students have access to devices an Internet to complete their work.”
Park City School District did an on-line survey to determine which families had access to the internet. Chief Academic Officer Amy Hunt says within the next week, all students in the district will have Wi-Fi access through a hotspot device that goes into a family’s home and is activated through the carrier.
“We have put out more than 50 Wi-Fi hotspots through a contract with T-Mobile and I have ordered some more so as far as what we've been informed at the 6th through 12th grade levels, those families are completely Wi-Fi accessible now and now we're shifting and working on our younger students in K-5.”All the school districts have systems in place to stay connected through lessons and online assignments. However, Superintendent Holmes says it will require more flexibility grading, setting expectations and keeping students on track.
“We have people assigned to call and reach out to those students who are potentially falling behind and especially seniors. We’re approaching graduation and the tracking of these students especially high school students is going to be key to keep them in line for graduation.”
The Wasatch School District Communications Director John Moss says at this point, every student can access WiFi through several pathways.
Comcast/Xfinity has offered a $10.00 a month plan to students on free or reduced lunch. They’ve opened local hotspots at no charge.
All West Communications is providing access free of charge to households in Timberlakes, Hideout, Deer Mountain and other developments near the Jordanelle Reservoir and the Hwy 40 Mayflower Exit.