SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah-Chatham County Public School System announced last week their plans to continue the school year virtually, for now, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tuesday, they got a lot of help from T-Mobile to help their students as they continue learning from home.
The company donated $4 million to purchase hotspot devices to bring Wi-Fi to those who need it. Essentially T-Mobile will purchase 6,000 headphones and hotspot devices that will provide internet access to students who need it.
Leaders say this donation will go a long way as they only had about 100 of these hotspots before T-Mobile’s help.
If you remember they did roll out their Wi-Fi on wheels to local neighborhoods for students to be able to get internet access even if they didn’t have the ability at home.
Leaders say those have been popular and needed. Their data tracks about 3,500 devices connecting to those daily.
With the need evident, T-Mobile’s donation is critical. Technology leaders estimate they need 10,000 hotspot devices for families without internet, and with Tuesday’s gift they will get 60 percent of those.
T-Mobile’s donation is part of their $10 million project to help connect kids with the resources they need.
And Savannah-Chatham leaders say that’s what this is doing, bringing Wi-Fi directly into students’ homes, which is especially critical as they are all virtual.
While the hotspots have not yet arrived, the district has determined the families within all their schools with the most need.
“Thanks to T-Mobile we have definitely crossed a new threshold with that. I am confident in saying that we will be able to canvas many many more of the higher percentages of what we needed before the break and even without knowing that we were moving back to full-time virtual we knew that need was still there. You can’t get everything done during those hours that our school buildings are open even when we were inside those buildings full time,” said Tammy Kemp, SCCPSS Lead Program Manager for Instructional Technology and Media Services.
Savannah-Chatham leaders expect the hotspots to arrive later this month and will send them out as soon as they can.
They say the devices will have filters for the internet and also have use even when students return to the building full time.
Officials say the relationship with T-Mobile is just beginning while they are excited about these almost 6,000 hotspots they’re expecting another 4,000 this summer.