Caldwell County Schools launch rolling hotspots powered by google to support virtual learning
LENOIR, NC (April 28, 2020) — The Caldwell County School District and the Education Foundation of Caldwell County launched Rolling Hotspots as part of Google’s Rolling Study Halls program. The initiative will help local students engage in virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. By outfitting 31 Caldwell County School District buses with Wi-Fi capabilities, the Rolling Hotspots will address the critical need for reliable internet access and allow all 11,200 county students to continue their education using Google Classroom. The Caldwell County hotspots will help local students engage in online classroom lessons and complete assignments, staying in communities through the end of the summer.
- Superintendent Donald Phipps, Caldwell County Schools: “We have used both digital and non-digital means to continue education during school closure. The concept of the “Rolling Hotspots” on school buses allows us to increase the number of students connected to online resources and learning platforms. Thanks to the strong partnership with the Education Foundation and Google, each and every day more and more students will be participating in remote learning.”
- Senator Warren Daniel (District 46): “I’m grateful that Caldwell County schools could be part of this initiative. During this time it’s important that students be able to continue to get their education, and for some of our rural residents that can be difficult with a lack of access to internet and electronic devices. This initiative will help bridge that gap.”
- Representative Destin Hall (District 87): “It’s great to see Google come alongside the community to help our students stay on track with their education during this unprecedented time. This program creates a great temporary solution to help those who are in need of internet service, and we are all very grateful for the team at Google for helping those students in need.”
- Ben Willis, Director, The Education Foundation of Caldwell County: “Having Internet access is more important now more than ever during these trying times. The Rolling Study Halls project is a great way to help bridge the digital divide in Caldwell County and offer access to those in need. It is a privilege for the Education Foundation of Caldwell County to be a part of this.”
- Mayor Joe Gibbons of Lenoir: “Since Google located its data center here in Lenoir more than a decade ago, city and county leaders have again and again collaborated on initiatives that support expanding opportunity for our community. Broadband access for our students is a critical need, and we are proud to team up with Google to address it through the Rolling Hotspots program.”
- Randy Church, Chairman of the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners: “Social distancing guidelines have brought to light a persistent quandary for many rural communities: when schools pivot to an online experience, what are areas without broadband to do? We cannot abandon these families. Google’s Rolling Hotspots program allows us to bridge at least part of the gap. Because of the program, hundreds of children are able to continue their education during this trying time.”
- Lilyn Hester, Head of External Affairs – Southeast, Google: “Google is excited to work with Caldwell County’s able educators and leaders to quickly turn our Rolling Studies Hall program into hotspots that will enable more kids to engage in school work during the stay-home period. We’re all about connection, and the ties that make Caldwell County a community we’re proud to call home.”
The Rolling Hotspots will be strategically placed in communities that lack reliable internet connectivity. The Wi-Fi signal will extend around 400 feet, creating a mesh network so students can gain internet access without boarding the bus. The Rolling Hotspots are a part of Google’s Rolling Study Hall program, an initiative that outfits school buses in rural communities with Wi-Fi, learning devices and onboard educator support to help students complete online homework assignments and access learning opportunities during their bus rides.
Google’s national Rolling Study Halls initiative launched in Caldwell County in 2016 when Google outfitted its first school buses with Wi-Fi and onboard instructors at Gamewell Middle School. The Rolling Hotspots have been delivering access to local Caldwell students since April 24, 2020, and will be located throughout the community. A map of locations and hours can be found at www.caldwellschools.com.