At a news conference April 10, AISD Chief Technology Officer Kevin Schwartz said that each bus has a WiFi range of 150-300 feet, and the district could bring 6-10 buses to one community, providing access to a larger area. Ideally, he said students should be able to access the WiFi service from in their homes, but some may need to come closer to a bus depending on location.
Buses will also have one or two staff members at them at all times to make sure students are accessing the internet while social distancing, Executive Director of Transportation Kris Hafezizadeh said.
AISD began online learning earlier this week, and has been distributing laptop computers and tablets to students across the district. Due to differences in access to technology and varying factors students can face while learning at home and virtually, AISD trustees have switched to a “pass or incomplete” grading system instead of the traditional A-F grading scale for the current semester.
Schwartz said his department’s current priorities are making sure that all families in the district have access to internet and technology, and that all students are safe and healthy.
The WiFi will be available to students who are using school computers and technology from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on weekdays at the following locations in the district:
- Avesta and Capella Apartments: 8800 and 8900 N. I-35, Austin
- Pecan Park Mobile Homes: 5701 Johnny Morris Road, Austin
- Huntington Meadows Apartments: 7000 Decker Lane, Austin
- Ashford Costa Esmeralda: 1601 E. Anderson Lane, Austin
- Agave Falls Apartments: 1901 E. Anderson Lane, Austin
- Paddock at Norwood Apartments: 1044 Norwood Plaza, Austin
- Onion Creek Apartments: 10701 S. I-35, Austin
- Bridge at Asher Apartments: 10505 S. I-35, Austin
- River Ridge Community: 1601 E. Slaughter Lane, Austin
- Trails at the Park: 815 W. Slaughter Lane, Austin
- Southwest Trails Apartments: 8405 Old Bee Caves Road, Austin
- Uphaus Early Childhood Center: 5200 Freidrich Lane, Austin
- Metz Elementary School: 84 Robert T. Martinez Jr. St., Austin
District Spokesperson Cristina Nguyen said that as a new program and with the continuously changing processes in the district due to the coronavirus, the district will continue to test, refine and update families as time goes on. The location of buses could be expanded or shifted in the future based on families needs.
AISD had previously received a $600,000 grant from Kajeet to add the WiFi hotspot to more than 500 of the district’s buses.