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Community and businesses come together to fund mobile hotspots for Spotsylvania shools

Community and businesses come together to fund mobile hotspots for Spotsylvania shools

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School has been in session in Spotsylvania County since the middle of August, but school officials and staff are still adjusting to the massive changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With most students learning from home, for at least the first nine weeks, making sure all of them can learn remotely is perhaps the biggest challenge. The school system already has distributed laptops to many of the approximately 24,000 students.

Finding a way to get internet service to those who lack it is another hurdle. To that end, in July the school system started setting up mobile hotspots where students can link up to the internet.

Those hotspots came via a $17,452 donation from sPower, the company building a 500-megawatt solar facility in western Spotsylvania. At the time, the school system was seeking help funding additional hotspots, with the goal being 10.

The community pitched in with enough funding to establish 16 hotspots, the school system announced in a news release.

Several businesses—Akamai Technologies, Etsy and Kimley-Horn—helped with funding. The Spotsylvania Education Foundation also helped fund one hotspot and Atlantic Builders paid for five hotspots.

Individual donations accounted for $1,000, according to the release.

Schools Superintendent Scott Baker thanked the community for its help.

“We greatly appreciate the support of our community partners and especially thank sPower and Atlantic Builders who have taken the lead in this initiative by supporting five mobile hotspots each,” Baker said in the release.

According to the release, the school system “estimates that approximately 21 percent of students have connectivity needs and additional support may be needed to help ensure students have access to Wi-Fi for distance learning.”

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

sshenk@freelancestar.com

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