Northern NY districts deploy school buses to help kids connect

Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 4:24 PM EDT
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One of the biggest issues our rural schools are facing during COVID-19 is access to Wi-Fi. Now, two districts have teamed up to help their students and it all involved their big yellow school buses.

"It's a big yellow school bus, yes," said Dan Mannix, the superintendent of the Beekmantown Central School District.

Beekmantown Central School District has started to add Wi-Fi to all the buses in its fleet over the last six years.

"It allows our students at Beekmantown to be able to log on when they are on the bus or near the bus to extend their day," Mannix explained.

Currently, students in Beekmantown haven't had issues connecting to home internet to get their schoolwork done. But that wasn't the case for neighboring Peru Central School District.

"Definitely understood we had some pockets where kids did not have access to the internet," said Thomas Palmer, the superintendent of the Peru Central School District.

The keys to three Wi-Fi-equipped buses are now in the hands of the Peru Central School District.

"Now, we're going to put them out to access points where kids don't have access to the internet," Palmer said.

Here's how it works: The three buses will travel to areas in the district like Ukie's Deli in Plattsburgh and park from 2-8 p.m. Monday through Friday. The students stay in their cars to keep social distancing standard but the routers reach 300 feet from the bus.

Click here for a full list of where you can find the three buses throughout the district during the week and how you can stay connected.