HEMET – Hemet Unified School District serves students in the Hemet San Jacinto Valley, as well as students in outlying areas such as Aguanga, Anza and Idyllwild. As HUSD transitioned to online learning, staff realized the challenges related to accessibility for families in these more remote areas and partnered with local entities to provide access for families.
HUSD learned in March 2020, when schools across the nation closed due to COVID-19, the struggles families faced accessing online learning. Staff began procuring hot spots from multiple providers to provide greater coverage for families in need; however, staff realized that hot spots were not always reliable in communities such as Aguanga, Anza and Idyllwild.
Staff quickly pivoted and began partnering with local entities in these outlying areas to provide a place in which families could access the internet to engage in online learning. Each community is unique and what worked for one didn’t necessarily work for the other so staff had to remain flexible and creative to provide solutions.
For the Idyllwild community, staff placed two busses that distribute Wi-Fi signal so that families could go access the internet. The first bus is parked at Idyllwild Community Playground, and the other is at a local camp called Camp Maranatha. The busses are on-site from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays to ensure that students are able to engage in online learning both synchronously and asynchronously.
HUSD relied on its partnership with the Anza community to help provide internet access to students. For families in Anza, they can utilize the Anza Community Hall to study and participate in their online learning activities.
Families in Aguanga can access the internet at Cottonwood Park thanks to the partnership with Valley-Wide Recreation and Park District. The logistics of providing Wi-Fi access was done through the tenacity of HUSD’s technology team by placing an outdoor antenna under the gazebo. Staff set up a point-to-point wireless feed from the library to the gazebo which feeds to the access point providing access to those in the vicinity.
Thank you to our local partners and HUSD staff for working hard to provide solutions to the many challenges families have faced during this pandemic. Your efforts have provided access to many families and the ongoing opportunity to learn.
Submitted by Hemet Unified School District.