Students cram into cars to use bus hotspot for virtual learning

300,000 Alabama families will receive internet vouchers soon
Updated: Sep. 2, 2020 at 8:44 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Ninety-degree temperatures loom over a car full of students parked on the side of the road in Farmersville. The car sits next to a school bus and is packed with students attending classes online.

Cassandra Rudolph said her five children sit in the car for nearly six hours each day to learn because the school bus provides a Wi-Fi hotspot.

“If it wasn’t for the bus the kids wouldn’t have any internet and any means of getting an education,” she said.

Rudolph said they don’t have internet at home, and the school will only offer virtual learning for her children right now. The nearest public library opens at 9 a.m. and is about 40 minutes away.

The car is usually filled with noise from the students listening to lessons online. Lyric McWilliams is in high school and sits in the front seat. She said the constant noise makes it difficult for her to get work done.

“I can hear what my sister is saying and her teacher,” McWilliams said.

Not to mention the heat.

The family hopes they can receive internet vouchers that the state is handing out to some Alabamians. It would allow them to have internet at home until Dec. 30.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs mailed about 300,000 internet vouchers this week. The department said they should land in people’s mailboxes in the coming days.

“I’m hoping to receive one so I can have Wi-Fi in the home,” Rudolph continued. “For my kids so that they don’t have to come out to the bus in the heat. It’s hot.”

McWilliams said internet access at home would help her learn better.

“Because we’ll have more space, and we’ll be in a cool area and not all brushed up together talking,” she said.

These students are keeping their fingers crossed so that this new normal for school does not last much longer.

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