Wi-Fi-enabled buses deployed to help Charleston County students get internet access

Updated: Mar. 21, 2020 at 11:55 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District has deployed 20 Wi-Fi-enabled buses throughout the county to help students have continued internet access while schools remain closed.

The buses are parked at different schools and public areas and will be up and running every weekday from either 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Each one will have a unique Wi-Fi password that the driver will give students when they arrive.

The Wi-Fi’s range is about 100 to 150 feet.

CCSD Interim Executive Director of Transportation James Lynch said the bus locations, listed below, can be adjusted to accommodate needs moving forward.

“During these unprecedented times, CCSD is committed to providing resources and assistance to the CCSD community,” Lynch said.

Some schools have also been equipped with extended outdoor WiFi service that will be available all day, every day.

“All schools have Wi-Fi services indoors,” Executive Director of Information Technology Tom Nawrocki said. “All radios in each building have been adjusted to their maximum power output so that students may access the internet from the outside of the buildings.”

District officials said both of these services are intended to be used by students to work on their school-issued devices. The hours and days of the week to use these options may be extended.

“I feel that we need to do everything possible to provide internet access to all children,” Nawrocki said. “While we cannot send home devices equipped with cellular service, we do have the means to provide some access to children in need.”

On Thursday, Greenville and Kershaw County School Districts also launched Wi-Fi enabled buses, and according to Department of Education spokesperson Ryan Brown, others could be doing the same on Friday.

“We have 250 buses that will be equipped [on Thursday] and sent out to rural and high poverty areas based off requests from local school districts,” Brown said. “Many will be in place [on Friday] and over the weekend.”

In Charleston County, buses are parked at the following locations from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.:

  • A.C. Corcoran Elementary School
  • Ashley River Creative Arts Elementary School
  • Buist Academy
  • Chicora Elementary School
  • James Island Charter High School
  • James Island Elementary School
  • Jane Edwards Elementary (no longer E.B. Ellington)
  • Jerry Zucker Middle School
  • Laing Middle School
  • Minnie Hughes Elementary School

Buses will be stationed at the following locations from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.:

  • Lincoln High School Campus, 714 Lincoln Road, McClellanville
  • James Island Youth Soccer Complex, 871 Fort Johnson Road, Charleston
  • Food Lion, 1291 Folly Road, Charleston
  • Northwoods Community Park, 8348 Greenridge Road, North Charleston
  • Collins Park Community Center, 4155 Fellowship Road, North Charleston
  • Felix C. Davis Community Center, 4800 Park Circle, North Charleston
  • St. Andrew’s Parks & Playground, 1095 Playground Road, Charleston
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Pool, 155 Jackson Street, Charleston
  • Train Station Playground, 5775 Route 165, Ravenel
  • C.C. Blaney Elementary School Campus, 7184 Route 162, Hollywood

The schools that have Wi-Fi available outside are below:

  • Academic Magnet High School/Charleston County School of the Arts (same campus)
  • Burke High School
  • Edmund A. Burns Elementary School
  • Matilda F. Dunston Elementary School
  • Mount Pleasant Academy
  • St. James-Santee Elementary-Middle school
  • St. John’s High School
  • Springfield Elementary School
  • Stono Park Elementary School
  • Wando High School
  • Wando Center for Advanced Studies

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