School of the Osage working to equip buses with WiFi for students

Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 4:32 PM CDT
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OSAGE BEACH, Mo. (KY3) - This school year has been quite different than normal for students, parents, and teachers.

“What we found here in education, especially since March, is technology is the glue that holds all of this together," said Eric Martin, Director of Technology and Innovation with the School of the Osage.

The School of the Osage uses Mondays as a virtual learning day, with students physically in class Tuesday through Friday.

But, not everyone has access to the internet.

“So we have a very rural district, and so one of our challenges is finding ways to get them connected," Martin added.

Right now, there are four buses, ones where students have the longest rides to and from school, that have WiFi capabilities.

“The student, no matter what age, can really focus, and they really could do their homework on the school bus," said transportation director, Tony Hatfield.

Those buses have the same filters and blocks used on the internet service inside the school building.

”These buses have signal through whatever carrier is going to be best within our district, and this can support up to about 50 students on the bus with simultaneous connection," Martin noted.

The hope is to get WiFi on 30 more buses. At roughly $1,000 per bus, that’s $30,000 up front, and then monthly payments for the service.

The school is trying to pay for this project through the CARES Act. The school has received one grant for $30,000, and was just notified on Thursday.

“To have an opportunity to do that is a win-win for parents, the community, and even the driver," Hatfield said.

School of the Osage hopes to have more of its buses equipped with WiFi sometime next semester.

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