Wi-Fi hot spots

A new tool put together by state agencies aims to connect students with available drive-up Wi-Fi hot spots.

As students across Illinois get accustomed to remote learning, state agencies have released a new tool aimed at connecting those who need internet to drive-up Wi-Fi hotspots.

The interactive map is searchable by ZIP code and municipality, and the hotspots contain information as to how internet service can be accessed. The map shows 200 hotspots aimed at allowing students and parents or guardians to continue social distancing by remaining in their cars while using the internet.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the life of every Illinois student but not equally,” State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen Ayala said in a news release. “The transition to remote learning has accelerated our efforts to close the digital divide among Illinois students and families. This map is one way to level the playing field in the short term and to increase access to the tools students and educators need to engage more deeply in remote education.”

According to the release, the effort was spearheaded by the Illinois Board of Higher Education and several other state agencies.

“The Illinois Board of Higher Education embarked on a collaborative project to identify public locations across the state where students could tap into free internet access,” IBHE Executive Director Ginger Ostro said. “It’s key to helping our state’s students to ‘attend’ class, use video and conference calling, conducting research, emailing assignments, and more.”

The hotspots are available at sites including local colleges and libraries.

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