ABILENE, Texas (News Release) – Two of the issues facing school districts across the country during this coronavirus pandemic is how students in those districts can participate in online learning without either a device or internet access.
The Abilene ISD has been working since last week to solve both of those problems, and now a local internet provider has joined in the initiative to help provide internet access to students across Abilene. Since last Thursday, the AISD has loaned out more than 4,200 Chromebook to families across the district to help their children continue learning at home during the indefinite shutdown of the school district.
Those Chromebooks have to have internet to make the online learning portal work and WesTex Connect is helping to make that happen in the Abilene community. Late Tuesday afternoon, a free hotspot went live in the parking lot at Shotwell Stadium with free WiFi to anyone who arrives at the parking lot and is within 200-500 feet of the tower.
Other locations going up will be in the west parking lot of Wylie’s Bulldog Stadium, the north parking lot of the Abilene Convention Center, the City Park in Clyde and either Badger Stadium or the City Park in Merkel.
All anyone has to do to access the WiFi in those spots — some of which are not yet active — is pull into the parking lot, stay in the car to abide by social distancing guidelines, search available networks, log on to WesTex Connect-GUEST, click connect (no password) and use the free WiFi provided by WesTex Connect.
“We’re certainly grateful to WesTex Connect for stepping in and helping to provide internet access for our community,” AISD Superintendent Dr. David Young said. “This type of teamwork is what makes Abilene a special place, and it’s something we see time and time again in our community.”
The AISD has ordered equipment to turn 25 of its school buses into mobile hot spots, and those should be hitting the streets of Abilene soon.