CONWAY (CBS) – Melissa Allis relies on dial-up internet for her three kids’ remote learning needs. “We just don’t have fast enough internet for them to all log on simultaneously,” said Melissa Allis.
It’s the only option available near her home in Conway, a rural town in western Massachusetts.
“They’ve had classes where they can just hear voices. The classmates are frozen on the screens,” said Allis.
Allis lives a half mile down a discontinued road. Cell phone data service isn’t an option either so the single mom finds herself driving her kids to places around town searching for strong WiFi.
“Sometimes it’s chilly in the morning and I try to make it fun. I put my back seats down with a blanket and bring them a hot chocolate or something,” said Allis
Access to strong WiFi is also an issue in Greater Boston. There are plenty of providers, but cost is an issue for many.
“Your teacher is who you should contact if you’re having technology or WiFi problems,” said Jessica Tang, President of the Boston Teachers Union.
Tang said some families in the city just don’t have access to the internet. She says teachers are also finding that some students don’t have strong enough internet for the lessons.
“So the connectivity issues are very real and students dropping in and dropping off and obviously that’s disruptive to remote learning,” said Tang.
Tang said teachers, school district leaders and the city are working hard to make sure students and their families can find service to log on.
The City of Boston has a website dedicated to helping families with their internet needs.