Rochester City School District students who don’t have reliable internet will receive more robust Wi-Fi hotspots for their online learning.
The Greater Rochester Health Foundation, the Rochester Area Community Foundation, Monroe County and ESL Federal Credit Union are teaming up to supply 2,900 newer hotspots to students, donated by T-Mobile.The group is working to acquire 2,000 additional WiFi hotspots to help even more students.
Simeon Banister with the Community Foundation says the hotspots students got in the spring are not reliable or fast enough for students to succeed in their online classes.
“We want to nourish intellectual curiosity, but Zoom videos and YouTube and so on and so forth can burn through data pretty quickly,” Banister said. “So we recognize that the T-Mobile offer got us part of the way, but that we all needed to pitch in and take us the rest of the way.”
Banister says there is enough funding to cover the monthly data costs for the hotspots until April, including $175,000 in CARES Act funding from Monroe County. , But, Banister says the group needs funding to pay for service for the rest of the school year. He’s hoping more donors step up to cover the remaining costs, especially since ESL will match donations for the effort, up to $475,000.
“This is certainly an intermediate solution as we work together collaboratively to find a longer-term solution,” said Banister.