Americans, Arizonans and residents in the Tri-Community are working to find the “new normal” thanks to the pandemic of COVID-19. Restaurants are only serving take-out. Bars are closed. Businesses are shuttered.
The governor’s stay home directive has changed the face of education from pre-school through college. Many parents are now finding themselves in the role of homeschool teachers. They have support from the school districts, though. Teachers are now using Zoom and other online video conferencing apps to teach their students remotely.
But success in the new normal for students depends heavily on access to high speed internet. In Mammoth and San Manuel, many people rely on the public libraries for access to the internet. With the lockdown, both libraries are closed.
Following the closure of schools due to COVID-19, it was pointed out that there was a lack of access to WiFi in Mammoth and San Manuel. Julie Dale-Scott, Superintendent of the Mammoth-San Manuel School District, and Evette Romero, San Manuel Revitalization Coalition Board Member, reached out to Local First AZ to address the issue. Local First Arizona partnered with the Arizona Commerce Authority and ViaSat, a satellite service company to install the WiFi system at no cost in Mammoth.
The new WiFi system was installed in Mammoth on Tuesday, April 21, 2020. The system was placed at the Mammoth swimming pool. It is to be used for students of the Mammoth-San Manuel School District for online education. Students will be able to access the internet for educational purposes at the swimming pool parking lot.
Another WiFi system was set up at the San Manuel High School parking lot last week that will provide enhanced service to the students. A team from CopperNet installed the system. The school currently has an internet base at the San Manuel Community School but it was in need of additional hardware to ensure access outside of the school building. The new equipment was provided at no cost to the school district. It will be available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Students will not be able to use the system for things like Netflix or inappropriate sites. Misuse will cause it to be disconnected.
The temporary service will be in place for a duration of approximately 90 days, but may be extended if the COVID-19 restrictions persist. The free WiFi service is being provided for students and faculty and for school activities only. It is not intended for general public use, social media, streaming media, FaceTime, etc. This will be reflected in the Terms and Conditions and users will need to agree to those before granted access.
Many thanks to ViaSat, Local First AZ, the Arizona Commerce Authority and the team at CopperNet for giving our kids the tools they need to learn through the pandemic, for going above and beyond for the district and making online learning happen for our kids.