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Where students in San Antonio area can get free Wi-Fi amid coronavirus pandemic

A group of organizations, school districts and the city are trying to close the digital divide

In this Thursday, March 26, 2020, photo, this wi-fi-enabled school bus, seen at an apartment complex in Winnsboro, S.C. Similar initiatives are taking place across San Antonio. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)
In this Thursday, March 26, 2020, photo, this wi-fi-enabled school bus, seen at an apartment complex in Winnsboro, S.C. Similar initiatives are taking place across San Antonio. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

SAN ANTONIO – The coronavirus pandemic has shut down schools, resulting in students having to find creative ways to learn from home.

But for some, the barrier of connectivity can be a mountain to overcome. In fact, 12% of households in the city do not own a computer and nearly a quarter do not have a broadband internet subscription, according to the 2018 U.S. Census.

RELATED: Tens of thousands of vulnerable San Antonio residents don’t have internet access. How do they get COVID-19 information?

That’s why school districts and city organizations are teaming up to try to make sure all their students have internet access.

Bexar County:

  • VIA has buses located around certain San Antonio and Northside ISD neighborhoods to provide mobile Wi-Fi to students.
  • Harlandale ISD has set up similar Wi-Fi zones for its students. A full map of Harlandale’s Wi-Fi zones can be found here.
  • North East ISD announced that elementary campuses will now be equipped with free Wi-Fi access points for students. All district-owned devices will automatically connect when in range, and personal devices can also be connected if students log in as guests.
  • The AT&T Center and Bibliotech are offering ways students and their families can access the internet for free. The internet will be available from 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. daily in Lot 3 of the AT&T Center, according to a news release. People can connect to the internet by selecting the “spursgive” Wi-Fi network.
  • San Antonio Public Library has made free Wi-Fi available outside of 28 of its 30 locations daily from 7:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. in an effort to serve those who do not have reliable broadband access at home. Molly Pruitt Branch Library and Briscoe Portal at the Briscoe Western Art Museum are not included in this initiative.
  • Two San Antonio Girl Scouts troops are offering free wireless internet from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day: Sally Cheever Girl Scout Leadership Center: 811 N Coker Loop; and West Side Girl Scout Leadership Center: 5622 W César E. Chávez Blvd.

Blanco County:

  • GVTC is providing free internet access at the GVTC central office of Blanco across the street from Blanco Elementary School.

Comal County:

  • Comal ISD dispatched seven buses with Wi-Fi signals that are parked at designated locations within the district. The district has also distributed 124 personal Wi-Fi devices for students and 1,900 laptops to families who otherwise would not have technology in their homes.
  • GVTC is providing free internet access at the Community Resource and Recreation Center of Canyon Lake, Habitat for Safe Seniors, The Hope Center and Provisions Outreach.

Gonzales County:

  • GVTC is providing free internet access at Gonzales Christian Assistance Ministries.

Kendall County:

  • GVTC is providing free internet access at Hill Country Family Services, Champion High School, Fabra Elementary School, Boerne High School, Boerne Middle School North and Kendall Elementary school.

The SAISD Foundation is also raising money to pay monthly service fees associated with these hotspots.

The district has so far passed out more than 3,500 hotspots, but each hotspot has monthly service fees that the foundation has been paying off.

Donations can be made here.


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