Botetourt Prevention Coalition seeking community partners for school WiFi hotspots

The Botetourt Prevention Coalition (BPC) is partnering with the public school system to locate community partners willing to provide space and Internet access for the county’s students. As students undergo a hybrid digital/physical education, school openings around Botetourt County mask the reality that a large portion of students’ work and day-to-day education is conducted not in a classroom but on a phone, tablet or one of the 534 Chromebooks purchased by the school system this summer. About 12 percent of students are fully remote, attending no physical classes.

But electronics and digital educational material is only as good as students’ Internet access. Currently, the school system offers access to students without adequate at-home connections via contact points in school parking lots. The set-up, while vital, is not ideal; adequate distance learning requires space with adequate Internet and capability to meet state guidelines for social distancing and sanitation. The need is especially high in the Buchanan and Eagle Rock areas. Facilities interested in opening their doors to students in need of WiFi and work areas must be able show to the School Board that they can accommodate children in a well-ventilated and sanitary space set up for socially distanced learning, as well prove that they possess a WiFi network which can support the number of students who can safely use the space at any given point in time. The locations must also be able to provide adult supervision of the students to ensure social distancing and mask guidelines are followed as they would be at school.

Those interested in providing a facility as a temporary study hall may contact Dr. Janet Womack at jwomack@bcps.k12.va.us.

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