Holt expands exterior WiFi for students and community

Holt Schools working to improve remote learning
Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 5:25 PM EDT
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HOLT, Mich. (WILX) - We are weeks into the school year and districts are still working out the kinks to online learning.

Administration at Holt Public Schools admit that some of their families are having trouble accessing WiFi while they begin the school year virtually.

That’s why the district is working to find way to provide WiFi beyond the school doors.

“There are some staff and students that live in an area where WiFi may not be an option in some of the more rural areas in Holt,” said Kevin Galbraith, the director of technologies at Holt public schools.

It’s a situation that Galbraith can relate to.

“Where I live, it wasn’t until recently that a cable company could provide broadband Internet access to my location so I had no opportunity for home WiFi for a number of years,” said Galbraith.

Knowing other staff and students are going through this- all while instruction is online - Holt Public Schools wanted to create another option for easy and free access to WiFi.

“We are installing exterior WiFi access points outside of our buildings and we excited to expand our wireless network,” said David G. Hornak, the superintendent of Holt Schools.

Six new exterior Internet access points have been placed at schools across the district that cover areas around the buildings like playgrounds and parking lots.

“We call it Ram Net and it’s open wireless access for any user, so we are expanding our network resources out to the community larger than just our learning community,” explained Galbraith.

Galbraith says the WiFi extenders can also provide some relief in households where more than one person is working or learning from home.

“If parents are working remotely as well, they need to balance that consumption of their bandwidth so these access points on the outside of the building will hopefully facilitate that,” said Galbraith.

The new WiFi is already up and running.

Hornak says there is not a set timeline to if and when the district could return to face-to-face learning.

The school board is currently working out a plan if the district were to transition to in-person instruction. The six new exterior Internet access points are valued at more than $22,000 dollars.

The district received the WiFi extensions through a grant.

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