Here's info about internet access, Wi-Fi buses, and our tech help desk

WEST COLUMBIA, SC -- The district is using the eLearning program during the closure for Coronavirus.

 

Here are some commonly-asked questions for parents.

 

INTERNET ACCESS

 

If you do not have internet access, we have some ideas.

 

We are now offering limited Wi-Fi bus service. Six buses will park around the district for roughly 3.5 hours in the morning, and 3.5 hours in afternoon. Their locations (attached here, with this story) have been identified as having the largest clusters of those in need of internet service. The buses will park in the same locations, for the same hours, Monday-Friday. The attachment posted here includes locations and the password that users will need to access the Wi-Fi (passwords also will be taped on the bus windows). Please note, the bus allows users to access Wi-Fi from up to 75 yards away. NOTE: Students and families may walk up or drive up and park near the bus. No one will be allowed to board the bus.

 

If this option will not be a good one for you, here are other options:

 

-- Spectrum is offering free internet service for a limited time to help students affected by coronavirus school closures. Ask for the free 60-day service for K-12 students. (Please note, Spectrum offers a different service called Spectrum Internet Assist; this is not the correct service to request right now, but is an option some families may qualify for after the 60-day free service has expired). We checked out Spectrum's offer and it is a valid one, though you will spend some hold time on the phone. Call (844) 488-8395.

 

-- Spectrum also offers free Wi-Fi hotspots in the area: https://www.spectrum.com/wifi-hotspots.html

 

-- All Lexington Two schools and offices offer Wi-Fi access from the parking lots. Park close to the building and you can pick up a signal. This is also the case in the parking lots of branches of the Lexington County Public Library.

 

-- Several West Columbia parks offer free Wi-Fi access in their parking lots. Find a list at https://westcolumbiasc.gov/recreation/

 

HELP DESK AND TECH TIPS

 

If you don't have any luck getting logged in, or if you have other tech challenges, contact our help desk (803-603-3712). It is open 9am-4:30pm Monday-Friday.

 

We've had some calls about kids having trouble logging in to Google classroom.

 

Here's a tip from one of our schools. See if it works for you: "When we've had students and/or parents with difficulty accessing Google Classroom from home in the past, it was usually due to using a personal device (PC, laptop, SmartPhone) AND because of 1) home WiFi security setting, 2) device OS not being updated/Chrome being out of date or 3) simply not being logged in to Google Chrome with an email linked to a specific classroom. For the home WiFi security issue, students can try logging into iBoss (if on a personal PC or other device) first and then accessing Google Classroom. I would look at these issues first."

 

Another tip is attached here about logging in to the iBoss filter, which is another common issue.

 

eLEARNING

 

Q: What is my student’s responsibility? How long do the students have to make up the eLesson(s) assigned? 

 

A: Students are expected to complete the eLessons assigned by their teachers. eLearning days are about extending learning outside of the school building and not stopping instruction.

 

Students in grades PreK-8 have FIVE school days and students in grades 9-12 have THREE school days to complete their make-up work, once schools reopen. The days will begin on the returning day. (For example, if students return on Monday, lessons for students in grades PreK-8 will be due that Friday;  for students in grades 9-12, the eLesson(s) will be due that Wednesday.)

 

Q: What if the student does not complete the eLessons AND did not complete the work after the make-up period? 

 

A: Students who did not complete eLessons, and the given school days (3 or 5) have passed, the student will be marked absent and their grade may be affected as zeroes will be entered in the gradebook for those assignments. 

 

We encourage parents to make sure students are keeping up with their work. Teachers keep virtual office hours and are available to students.