NOXUBEE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – With schools shut down, many students are tackling a new skill – distance learning.
But in some places, the biggest assignment can be finding an internet connection.
Noxubee County Schools are working to set up WiFi around the community for students who aren’t able to do work from home.
“Internet is a very important source that we need to get through some of the work that we have at school,” said Junior Reagan Williams.
Williams is a junior in high school. As she begins tackling most of her homework online, she’s concerned about her classmates who may have trouble accessing the internet away from school.
“Not knowing if they’re going to be able to finish their work or if they’re going to be able to have a chance to put their best foot forward within their work. Living in rural areas, you don’t always have service, and things like that, so it’s harder for them to execute the best way they need to,” said Williams.
Karen Dixon is the Assistant Principal of Noxubee County High School.
She said teachers are working to provide options for students.
“They can pick up packets that each teacher, or in each grade or department, have provided for those students who may not have access to the internet, or to the online services,” said Dixon.
When it’s time to complete assignments online, students can come to the school for service or the Noxubee County Transit.
“I knew we had a plan in place and we’re continuing to work through our plan to make sure we are providing students what they will need to get online and complete the packet,” said Dixon.
Many, including Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley, will tell you, the increased demand for students and workers trying to telecommute is highlighting an issue that has plagued many areas of the state well before the coronavirus came along.
“We’ve been struggling. Many rural people have been struggling. In the last couple weeks, in particular, the schools, as you mentioned, began to close. So many workers are telecommunicating,” said Presley. We are seeing in terms of what this digital divide means to the people in Mississippi. Once we get through this crisis, and we’re going to get through this crisis, we have to put together and have an effort like we never seen before to make sure we connect every home, every business and every industry in Mississippi with internet service, so we never get back in this mess again.”
Noxubee County High School and Transit System will continue to provide these services for students 24/7 free of charge.