RCSD fighting for better home internet access

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At this time last year, the Rochester City School District thought it had finally found a way to ensure that its students had reliable internet access to do their schoolwork at home.It distributed about 10,000 MiFi hot spot devices with 10 gigabytes of data each — plenty, in theory, for a few hours of work after school each night.”They were meant to be a supplemental use in addition to school or library connectivity,” RCSD Executive Director of Instructional Technology Glen VanDerwater said. “Of course, then, March 13 hit.”March 13 was the last day of in-person classes before COVID-19 turned education on its head. Now, those MiFi devices are serving as the primary portal to education, not as a supplement. By no fault of the district’s, the situation has proven deeply inadequate.About half of students are exceeding the 10 GB data limit before the end of their monthly cycle, VanDerwater estimated. At that point their speed is reduced from 4G to 3G, which in some parts of the city is insufficient bandwidth to stream live Zoom classes and do online assignments.”Some students are getting down to almost AOL dial-up speed,” VanDerwater said.More:RCSD special education program crumbling under strainFrom 1Million to 10 …

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