To meet the needs of Lauderdale County School District students who lack internet access, the district will be offering free wi-fi on school campuses.
The hotspots will be located in school parking lots and are similar to the hotspot located at East Mississippi Electric Power Association building on Highway 39 North. Students will need a password to login to use the wi-fi.
Once COVID-19 hit, the district began to look at ways to provide internet to its students with either through wi-fi or providing electrical devices to complete classwork, Technology Director Trent Airhart said.
Before it could launch the hot spots, the district had to purchase equipment, he said.
There are plans to increase internet coverage by working with EMEPA and adding additional sites at campuses and elsewhere in the community, Airhart said.
The area that has had the most challenges has been the Southeast area of the county, Airhart said. Based on a district survey, out of 2,000 responses, 25 percent of students across the district don’t have adequate broadband coverage or other forms of internet access, he said.
Southeast High School principal Russell Keene said the school has been investing money into making sure students at the school have access to the internet and plans are to have other options available for the current school year. The main issue is not affordablity, but the lack of access, Keene said.
“The internet access is something that we have always struggled with within this area,” Keene said.