Santa Ana Unified School District this week rolled out a new “Wi-Fi on Wheels” program aimed at providing 5G wireless access points to densely populated neighborhoods where students have been struggling to connect to the internet.
According to a press release from SAUSD, five Wi-Fi vans and busses were deployed on Tuesday as part of a pilot program, with an eventual goal of sending out as many as 150 buses and vans to travel and be placed in neighborhoods with spotty internet coverage throughout the district.
The Wi-Fi vans and buses, provided through a partnership with JFK Transportation, are equipped with wireless routers that can provide service for as many as 200 students. Each Wi-Fi vehicle will remain parked in a neighborhood for the entire school day to ensure students stay connected until instruction ends, the district said.
CBS2 news reported that the mobile Wi-Fi program offers more than a way for students to connect with their classmates and attend school — it also allows them to regain confidence.
SAUSD student Brianna Montes told CBS, “It made me feel like I wasn’t going to be that person that I was before, because of the internet and because I couldn’t do all of my work and get it done.”
“It is going to be way easier than it was before,” Montes said.
The district said the mobile Wi-Fi program will continue until students return to school full time for in-person instruction.