WCSD Provides Connectivity Support For Students and Families with SmartBus Technology
Contact: Victoria Campbell
WCSD Provides Connectivity Support
For Students and Families with SmartBus Technology
Reno, NV (Sept. 17, 2020) – The Washoe County School District (WCSD) is assisting students and families with Wi-Fi connectivity with the use of SmartBus networking devices. These devices will be deployed to 10 locations throughout the community and will also be available to students who are riding school buses for long periods of time traveling to and from school.
“We recognize that connectivity is a challenge for many of our families that do not have Wi-Fi capability in their homes, and we are pleased to provide these tools to them and their students,” said WCSD Superintendent Dr. Kristen McNeill. “We have also distributed 3,000 mobile hotspot devices to our schools and will continue to distribute them as we receive more from our suppliers.”
“One of our significant equity challenges is connectivity, and we’re working to ensure that all of our students have remote access to their hybrid or distance learning opportunities,” said WCSD Chief Information Officer Dr. Chris Turner. “Providing location- and schedule-specific Wi-Fi to neighborhoods and adding SmartBus connectivity for our students that have long bus commutes can both be critical supports to their education.”
SmartBus Access devices have been provided to WCSD by Kajeet Smartbus, and families may access the service with the password “smartbus.” School staff members have helped families learn to use the devices and provided information since classes began last month.
WCSD is providing opportunities for both in-person learning and distance learning for all students, and each student and family has a choice about which learning method to use during the school year. Middle- and high school students are following a hybrid model where half of the student population attends school on the A schedule and the other half attends on the B schedule, with distance learning taking place on alternate days.
Due to heavy smoke and hazardous air quality in recent weeks, the District has cancelled in-person learning and conducted District-wide distance learning seven times so far during this school year. In the first week of school, three days of classes were cancelled due to smoke and hazardous air quality caused by nearby wildfires.
“These devices help support our students who are learning from home in the hybrid schedule, in distance learning, and on days when the air quality makes it unsafe for them to attend school,” said Dr. Turner. “We are happy to provide this service to support their learning and look forward to expanding our services in the near future.”
Below is a list of the locations where WCSD is providing connectivity support:
Ongoing: Three SmartBus units have been deployed to the following secured office locations:
- Hungry Valley Community Center, 9070 Eagle Canyon Drive, Patrick
- Sutcliffe Marina, 2500 Sutcliff Loop Road, Reno
- Reno Housing Authority’s Homeless Shelter, 480 Galletti Way, Sparks
Daily: Beginning Tuesday and continuing every weekday between 7 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., these are the locations for the daily SmartBus deployments:
- California Building/Idlewild Park, 75 Cowan Drive
- Evelyn Mount Northeast Community Center, 1301 Valley Road
- Neil Road Recreation Center, 3925 Neil Road - Central Yard
- North Valleys Regional Park, 8085 Silver Lake Road – North Yard
- Paradise Park Activity Center, 2745 Elementary Drive - Central Yard
- Plumas Gym, 475 Monroe Street
- Sun Valley Community Center, 115 West 6th Avenue – North Yard
Bus Routes: In consultation with the Transportation Department and using criteria of identified need and extended bus ride duration, we have outfitted buses 2026, 1515, 1514, 1521, 2024, 7023, 8031, 1619, 7020, 1205, 1615, 1202, 1604, 1613, 5123 with SmartBus units.
For more information, visit https://www.washoeschools.net/Page/15896
Kajeet SmartBus Access Device
Despite the fact that the device is called a “SmartBus," WCSD does not park school buses in neighborhoods that are outfitted with the devices. District vehicles are used instead, and this one is parked at the Neil Road Community Center.