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We were surveyed to see if we wanted to add our school to the map, we
didn't because our students already know the wifi range extends a bit
outside the building, so they can connect already.  We don't make wifi
available to the general public,though.  Now that we're under a stay at
home order, I'm not convinced that keeping up with one's schooling is a
legitimate reason to venture out to the school's parking lot, either.
-----

Robert Wickberg
Technology Coordinator, BAMS, BUHS, and WRCC
802-451-3418



On Wed, Mar 25, 2020 at 3:40 PM Craig Lyndes <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Schools are looking at ways to provide Internet at home for their students
> and staff.  In Vermont there are places where there is no way to connect
> and short of running fiber or building cell towers there are no options.
>
> Thinking outside the box, something schools can do is offer WiFi in the
> parking lot.
>
> Sometimes it is as simple as walking around the building and identifying
> some parking spaces that get a strong enough signal.  The next step is
> letting people know they are welcome and identifying where a sufficient
> signal can be found. This would limit access to devices/accounts that you
> already allow on your network and people who you invite.
>
> This is something you can do today that will help your students’ keep in
> touch and continue learning.
>
> Maybe you have some parking spots that get a good signal and are near an
> outside outlet.  Could you offer people the outlet to plug in their devices
> so they aren’t limited to the battery life of their device?
>
> What if you don’t have a good signal near the parking spots where you
> would like to offer access?  Do you have a window where you could place an
> access point that would cover the spots? The classrooms are empty and our
> networks are only lightly used so there may be resources we can repurpose
> for this emergency.
>
> There may be situations where the students will be using devices that are
> not able to authenticate to the school’s internal network.  Is there a
> guest network? When you communicate to your community include information
> necessary to access your guest network. There should be plenty of bandwidth
> with the building(s) empty so make sure there is a usable amount of
> bandwidth so this will not be a frustrating experience for your school
> community.
>
> Here is a map of WiFi access points throughout Vermont.
>
>
> https://publicservice.vermont.gov/announcements/public-wifi-hotspots-vermont
>
> Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every public school in Vermont were added to
> this map?  What a great learning resource for our communities.
>
> Next; some thoughts on intentional public WiFi as a part of a school’s IT
> infrastructure.
>
> Craig Lyndes
>
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