Instead of taking the kids to school trips, a school transportation company brings the Internet to the kids – Orange County Register

JFK Transportation usually delivers students to campuses and provides them with the means to go on field trips and participate in sports games.

But this week it started providing them with technology.

JFK vans equipped with Wi-Fi systems were shipped to neighborhoods in the Santa Ana Unified School District, where students were having difficulty accessing the Internet for their distance learning.

“It was determined that some of our neighborhoods had an erratic internet connection,” SAUSD spokesperson Fermin Leal said.

The density of some areas, especially in the city center where schools like Roosevelt Elementary and Santa Ana High are located, has been a factor that has made it difficult for all school-age children to access at the same time, Leal said.

“Other districts have sent mobile hotspot units to their neighborhoods,” he said, “and we thought this might work in Santa Ana too.”

Santa Ana Unified contracts with JFK Transportation, but with its campuses, like all public school districts in Orange County, closed and its students starting the year doing distance learning, the vans and buses were not in use. So JFK started equipping its vehicles as a mobile internet provider.

So far, JFK has five van parks in areas of the city that need an internet boost.

“It’s much, much, much faster now,” Brianna Montes, 11, said Tuesday, September 1, as she worked at the kitchen table with a JFK van parked nearby in her neighborhood. Six siblings in the family all tried to do their school work at the same time and until now their internet connections were “faulty” and unreliable.

Several students in the neighborhood spoke of being “stressed out” by their previous Internet problems.

But anyone who thinks they can park near one of the JFK vans to gain access to the hotspot is wrong, officials said. Only SAUSD students have the login credentials to connect.

Photographer Mindy Schauer contributed to this report.

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