Local school districts working to provide internet access to students, some providers offering free services
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - School districts in South Carolina are working to make sure students have internet access while at home so they can complete school assignments.
This comes after South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster closed all schools, through the end of the month, in the midst of coronavirus concerns.
Teachers have been calling parents of students to see if they have internet access and providing assistance when needed.
State Superintendent Molly Speaman says they have about 3,000 school buses with WiFi.
They are planning on sending then out to different areas across the state where student don’t have internet access. District leaders say plans for that are still underway.
School districts say they are also offering paper packets and select districts have Wifi Hotspots for those who need them.
At least four internet providers are offering service deals to help equip households.
Comcast is providing free internet services for 60 days for new customers. However, when you call the service line it says they are experiencing an increase in call volumes following this announcement. On Wednesday, the phone call dropped numerous times when callers try to register as a new customer. Comcast says you can also register online at www.internetessentials.com.
Home Telecom will also be offering several internet programs to support remote workers and eLearning for students. That includes free Internet with WiFi for new households in their service area with K-12 or college students during the national emergency. You can visit HomeSC.com/Connect for more information and to sign-up.
AT&T is waiving their data overage fees to all their customers in an effort to ensure families stay connected during the outbreak.
Spectrum is offering a 60-day waiver fee so people can have WiFi for free. You can contact 1-844-488-8395. The service says they are experiencing overwhelming amount of calls for their student remote learning offer. Call wait times were up to an hour on Wednesday afternoon.
School districts say they are doing their best to equip students.
Charleston County School District
The Charleston County School District says they are considering expanding Wifi services at their schools. When available, people living in surrounding areas can connect to it on school issued devices. They are also providing students with paper packets of school work if needed.
Dorchester School District 2
Dorchester School District Two say they realize some families don't have internet access so they are mailing paper packets for those who can't pick them up. The school is not an eLearning district, meaning they don't issue school devices to every student. The spokesperson for the district says they will begin using eLearning tools next school year. The district says instructional software companies have offered their support to provide Wifi to students. That information has been given to families.
Berkeley County School District
Berkeley County School District officials say most students in the district have internet access through school initiatives with local service providers that have already been in place since 2016. The district has identified the students who need WiFi access. Families without access for their student can contact the school directly for assistance. The district has mobile Hotspots.
Georgetown County School District
Georgetown County School District's IT department is working with Verizon to have smart buses to provide mobile WiFi. The county also provides mobile hot spots to areas who don't have service.
Copyright 2020 WCSC. All rights reserved.