Albemarle County Public Schools has extended its school division WiFi signal strength at school parking lots and the Yancey School Community Center during the pandemic for use by the public.
“It’s fiber, so it’s a lot more robust of a connection than a hotspot can provide,” said Christine Diggs, the division’s chief technology officer. “It’s a lot better for handling video and audio and those kinds of bigger demand items that stretch out bandwidth on a hotspot.”
But despite the school division’s efforts, many in the community still say the pandemic has exacerbated internet access problems for school children and those now trying to work from home.
Renee Lundgren, a family support worker in the county’s social services department, said the division has been wonderful in trying to meet the needs of children, but it’s still very difficult to get everything done with limited or no internet access.
“This has been going on for so many years, and then COVID, it just really changed the landscape and really accents the difficulties and inequities in services for people,” she said.
Lundgren, who picks up meals at Yancey, said she has seen a number of families utilize the WiFi there.
“Moms are in the front seat trying to help the older kids with work,” she said. “I’ve seen families sitting up huddled in the doorway because it’s raining. A family, they were all covered up with blankets a few weeks ago, because it was so cold, she was sitting with three kids trying to get work accomplished.”
Other Albemarle news
- The Board of Supervisors approved an agreement for a public-private partnership with the developer of a proposed project, Albemarle Business Campus, which is contingent upon a proposed rezoning for the project receiving approval from the board.
County news from March:
- The Board of Supervisors passed an emergency ordinance to ensure continuity of government, which allows county authorities to meet virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic, and approved an updated ordinance in April.
- The Planning Commission recommended approval of a development at the intersection of John Warner Parkway and Rio Road known as Parkway Place.
- The Board of Supervisors approved a contentious project at 999 Rio Road.
- The Albemarle Architectural Review Board provided feedback and recommended approval of two areas of the 277-acre Brookhill development.
- The Albemarle County Police Department is partnering with Ring, the doorbell-camera company, to get video from county residents who have the surveillance cameras.
- Charlottesville Fashion Square mall likely will be transferred to its lender within the year.
What's in an acronym?
Local governments use a lot of acronyms and it can get confusing for residents who aren’t regularly involved in the government.
Broadband and internet access are becoming more of a need that a want, and Albemarle established the Albemarle County Broadband Authority, also known as ABBA, in 2017.
The authority and internet service providers have been successful in getting funding for projects from the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative grant program.
Utilizing county money, ABBA has partnered with the Central Virginia Electric Cooperative to expand CVEC’s fiber-optic network in Albemarle.
The Albemarle Board of Supervisors has a budget work session at 10 a.m. Wednesday over livestream.
The board will hold its regular meeting at 2 p.m. May 6 over livestream.
A second budget work session is tentatively scheduled for 4 p.m. May 11.
The Albemarle Planning Commission is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. May 12 over livestream.
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