Need WiFi access? This is where Austin ISD buses will be offering free WiFi to students on weekdays

Austin ISD will use buses to provide WiFi access to students as they learn from home this semester. (Community Impact Staff)
Austin ISD will use buses to provide WiFi access to students as they learn from home this semester. (Community Impact Staff)

Austin ISD will use buses to provide WiFi access to students as they learn from home this semester. (Community Impact Staff)

With Austin ISD now holding classes virtually for the ongoing 2019-20 school year, the district will begin using a fleet of school buses with WiFi hotspot capabilities to serve communities with low internet access and a high population of students.

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.
By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.


Students at Norman-Sims Elementary School and Austin ISD's 124 other schools across the district will now be allowed to remove masks during outdoor physical activities with the permission of a parent or guardian. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD makes outdoor masking optional, eases other health, safety restrictions

Students engaging in outdoor physical activity will now have the option to remove masks.

House Bill 1024, signed into law May 12, allows restaurants and bars to permanently sell alcoholic beverages to-go. (Courtesy Pexels)
Cocktails to-go are here to stay in Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott signs change into law May 12

Supporters say the change will help restaurants continue to recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Austin's phased process for moving people experiencing homelessness out of unregulated encampments will roll out through the summer. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
City officials detail homeless education and enforcement plan with Proposition B ordinances now in effect

The process that will eventually remove the city's homeless encampment begins this month with outreach and warnings and will stretch until late summer with full enforcement.

Residents will have until May 2023 to obtain a Real ID. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
US Department of Homeland Security extends Real ID deadline until 2023

Drivers will have until May 2023 to get the Real ID, which will be required for adults boarding a U.S. commercial flight.

Susan Bailey was elected president of the American Medical Association in June 2020. (Courtesy American Medical Association)
'I am convinced we will beat COVID': American Medical Association President Susan Bailey discusses vaccine successes, myths, challenges

Bailey was elected president of the American Medical Association in June 2020. Much of the organization's focus during that time has been on vaccine transparency and distribution.

Valentina’s offers breakfast and lunch tacos as well as barbecue. (Courtesy Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ)
South Austin's Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ will move to Buda in next year

The business announced it will be moving within the next year.

Under the city of Austin's phased enforcement plan released May 10, citations at public encampments will begin in mid-June to be followed by arrests and clearances in July as necessary. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin's homeless ordinances back on books May 11, but arrests, camp clearings won't start until July

Austin announced a "phased process" to introduce Proposition B ordinances beginning with one month of outreach followed by one month of warnings and citations before arrests or clearances begin as necessary.

Pfizer vaccines could become available to kids 12 and up as soon as next week. (Courtesy Adobe Stock/Graphic by Justin Howell/Community Impact Newspaper)
FDA expands Pfizer vaccine authorization to children ages 12 to 15 years old

This is the first time people under the age of 16 have been granted access to a coronavirus vaccine.

Butler Park Pitch & Putt reopened to the public in April. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Butler Park Pitch & Putt reopens in Austin; turf fields open in Pflugerville and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

I-35 traffic
State now accepting public input on North Austin I-35 overhaul project

The public now has the ability to review and provide feedback on planning materials for a $400 million I-35 project.