MUSD provides hotspots, Chromebooks to improve connectivity for most vulnerable students
A COVID-19 Education Partnership Grant, through the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, continues to impact the lives of many Milpitas Unified School District students in different ways from providing wifi hotspots and Chromebook laptops to enhancing online instruction to purchasing gift cards for everyday essentials.
Up in the hills next to Felter Road, MUSD’s Tech Team of Director Chin Song and Network Manager Thao Xiong provided a reliable connection, as well as devices, for three students who were unable to log-in for their classes.
“We initially tested with a hotspot, followed with a directional antenna to find a better signal strength, then finally settling with a higher-powered cellular modem to optimize the signal around the hills,” Song explained. “It provided a stable connection for the students to complete their learning.”
MUSD has provided more than 200 hotspots to families since March.
Earlier this month, Secondary Community Liaison Norma Morales and Board of Education President Hon Lien hand-delivered wifi hotspots to a pair of Milpitas Unified School District families in need of internet access for distance learning.
Both MUSD families resided in multiple-family, shared dwellings while experiencing economic hardships and added stress due to job loss amid the pandemic. This forced them to prioritize their financial needs, with internet access not at the top of that list.
When students in these families began to log-in for classes with less frequency, Morales sprung into action and reached out to them to see how the district could help. One student, a Guatemalan refugee whose first language is a Mayan dialect called K'iche', was having trouble following online instruction, consistently accessing the internet, and changed his home address. After unsuccessful phone calls and home visits, Morales was able to make contact and, on October 10, brought the student a wifi hotspot to use with his MUSD-issued Chromebook. She also included gift cards and information about utilizing the Milpitas Food Pantry.
“I was so glad we were able to help him out,” said Morales, who one day earlier delivered a hotspot to the other MUSD family struggling with finances and consistent internet access. “Any little bit counts. It can make a big difference in their lives.”