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Aromas-San Juan Unified Announces Availability of Wi-Fi Enabled School Buses
Janet Watson
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Students Can Safely Access Remote Learning Content While Maintaining Social Distancing

SAN JUAN BAUTISTA, Calif. May 18, 2020 – The Aromas-San Juan Unified School District today announced the availability of district-wide Wi-Fi-enabled school buses to serve students and their families during ongoing distance-learning needs. Students will be able to safely access remote learning content while maintaining social distancing, free of charge. The District’s new ‘Student Wi-Fi Zone’ will be accessible and regularly-stationed in centralized locations throughout the community, effective Monday, May 18th. These buses provide reliable, fast internet within a 300-foot radius for those affected by California’s mandated shelter-in-place order. Aromas’ ‘Student Wi-Fi Zone’ is made possible through a public/private partnership between the District, ENGIE North America, and Icomera, an ENGIE company.

We have close to 25% of our students who do not have access to the internet. Our area has multiple areas of “White Spaces” that are dead zones for internet access. We are thrilled to establish this partnership with ENGIE to bring a much-needed service to our students. The service will reduce the digital divide and address equity among our students.

Nearly 22 percent of U.S. households have no access to the internet on a regular basis. During the shut-down of typical internet access points due to COVID-19 closures – including public libraries in addition to school sites – lack of reliable access to the internet has become an even more significant barrier to new distance learning expectations. In Aromas-San Juan USD, we have 66% of our population of students considered low socio-economic status.

The ‘Student Wi-Fi Zone’ is an integral part of ENGIE’s Connectivity-as-a-Service (CaaS) offering, which can help to bridge the digital divide and provide reliable, long-distance learning solutions – especially as the future of distance-learning needs continues to evolve. While the system can provide additional services in the future to help parents track buses and the district with fleet management, for now, the system is tailored to address the needs of the student population.  The ‘Student Wi-Fi Zone’ is a secure installation capable of blocking inappropriate sites and optimizing access across multiple cellular providers.

The District covers approximately 100 square miles in western San Benito County, northern Monterey County, and eastern Santa Cruz County and serves K-12 students from three schools. The District includes the City of San Juan Bautista in San Benito County, the unincorporated community of Aromas in Monterey County, and other unincorporated areas in its three-county territory. ENGIE is a leader in providing renewable energy and energy efficiency services to K-12 school districts in California, having worked with more than 50 districts across the state. Icomera is the world’s leading provider of wireless Internet connectivity and application platforms for public transportation, committed to promoting green mobility.

About the Student Wi-Fi Zone

  • Available Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 3 pm
  • Locations:
    • Marshall’s Market in Aromas,
    • Abbe Park San Juan Bautista
    • 410 The Alameda, Hacienda De Leal, San Juan Bautista
    • Red Barn Flea Market at 1000 US-101, Aromas

 

Media Contact:

Aromas-San Juan Unified School District