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Fairfield school board works to ensure internet access

The Fairfield Community School District Board of Directors met over Zoom Monday. The board discussed progress on delivering internet access to every student in the district.
The Fairfield Community School District Board of Directors met over Zoom Monday. The board discussed progress on delivering internet access to every student in the district.

FAIRFIELD – The Fairfield Community School Board of Directors met Monday and voted to make Christi Welsh the board’s new president.

Welsh takes the reins from previous president Debi Plum. The board also voted to make Frank Broz vice president.

The board talked about the district’s recent decision to move all coursework online, which started Monday. Board member Tim Bower said it’s a difficult time for students and teachers.

“We’re hearing about the effects of COVID, and it’s getting scary,” he said. “We need to provide support, and let teachers know we’re thinking about them every minute of every day.”

Broz said he was glad to see in the technology report to the board that students are getting better access to the internet. He said the district’s hard work is paying off, and is heartened that the internet hot spots the district has set up are getting good use.

Bower asked district technology director John Grunwald how the schools are doing in connecting all students to the internet, since that is an essential part of their education now.

Grunwald said it’s hard to say, because he hadn’t received any requests for hot spots or other kinds of internet connectivity for a month, until the past week when 17 families reached out to say they needed internet.

“I thought we were sitting OK, but then all of a sudden it exploded again,” Grunwald said.

Broz said the district is fortunate to receive help from internet providers such as LISCO who are “hooking people up at rates they can afford.”

“I think that’s helped a lot in bringing this list down,” Broz said, referring to the list of families needing internet.

Grunwald said that every time he learns of a family without internet, he checks their address to see if LISCO already has a cable to their home. If the home doesn’t have access to LISCO, Grunwald said the district looks into supplying internet to the home through a hot spot.