Local News

Cumberland County schools will provide hotspots, tech support to students for online learning

Posted July 30, 2020 11:53 a.m. EDT
Updated July 31, 2020 12:51 p.m. EDT

— The Cumberland County Schools board on Thursday outlined a plan to give students access to the proper technology for online learning. In the district, the first six weeks of school will be online.

During the spring semester, the board said, students and staff had issues with their connectivity.

The school board said that buses will be parked in safe locations around the district – like churches and fire station parking lots – with hotspots set up in them. Students can connect to these hotspots if they don't have strong enough WiFi at home to do their classwork.

Putting a hotspot in every home would be hard, Stacey Wilson-Norman, chief academic officer for the district said.

Wilson-Norman said that some people have suggested to her getting a contract through a private provider to make sure everyone has internet. But, she said this wouldn't necessarily solve the problem. Students have to use secure internet, which makes providing resources a bit more difficult.

Cumberland County Schools will also have a help line run by the school's information technology team for families to call. If a family's home internet isn't working, they can call the hotline for troubleshooting help.

Chromebooks will be distributed to students who need them, but will not be given to every student.

One of the first lessons of the 2020-2021 school year will be when students learn how to log onto their devices and how to use them. Wilson-Norman said the district wants to make sure that everyone is on a "level playing field" before the school year kicks off. Members of the board discussed doing a test trial of online learning before the school year begins.

As of July 30, 2,700 students have accepted seats at the Cumberland County Virtual Academy.

Wilson-Norman said the board is in the process of hiring teachers for the academy now.

The district will hold a Q&A with students before the start of school.

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