- Lenoir County Public Schools
Grants from Rotary add to district's store of hotspots
Grants from the Rotary Club of Kinston and Rotary International District 7730 will help Lenoir County Public Schools connect students to the internet during a time when remote learning is part of every school day.
The grants, totaling $4,921, will go for the purchase of hotspots, devices that will link students’ iPads to cell tower signals to provide broadband capability. Included with the purchase of devices are data plans, eliminating any cost to users.
“The Rotary Club of Kinston is again responding to the needs of students in the Covid-19 pandemic,” club president Bob Griffin said. “As student instruction shifted to virtual learning, it became apparent that there were significant numbers of students without broadband internet access, either because of unavailability where they live or unaffordability despite access.”
The club’s grant of $2,908, announced in June, will allow Lenoir County Public Schools to acquire five hotspots and accompanying data plans to assist up to 75 at-risk students who would not otherwise be able to connect to the internet and do their schoolwork. As many as 15 devices can log on to each hotspot under optimum conditions.
Rotary District 7730 recently announced its award of $2,013 in a district grant that will purchase three more hotspots with data plans to serve another 45 students. Rotary District 7730 includes 49 Rotary clubs in southeastern North Carolina, including the Kinston club.
“On behalf of our students and families who may find themselves in a difficult situation because of pandemic, I thank the Rotary Club of Kinston and Rotary District 7730 for these grant awards and I salute their dedication to helping where help is most needed,” LCPS Superintendent Brent Williams said. “They are putting into practice the Rotary motto of ‘service above self.’”
The Rotary Club of Kinston is Lenoir County’s oldest and largest civic club, now with 124 members. As part of its 100th anniversary celebration, the club awarded grants of $500 each to a dozen local agencies and institutions. It also awarded more than $9,400 in grants in June to 10 agencies as part of its annual community grants program. The club is continuing its activities during the pandemic, but due to limits on mass gatherings, the club is meeting monthly by Zoom while in-person meetings are restricted.
According to a survey of LCPS families, about 800 students were without reliable internet service in late September, when school district gave them the option of returning to school on a staggered schedule or continuing with fully remote learning. Both instructional models require students to connect to school work virtually.
With the community’s help through grants and donations, LCPS continues to build up its store of hotspots and distribute them through its schools using a needs-based application system.
Bob Griffin, second from right, president of the Rotary Club of Kinston, gets a look at a hotspot device while delivering a grant check to Lenoir County Public Schools and, from left, Assistant Superintendent Nicholas Harvey II, Superintendent Brent Williams and Associate Superintendent Frances Herring. The Kinston club and Rotary District 7730, of which the Kinston club is a part, each awarded LCPS grants totaling $4,921 for the purchase of hotspots to help students connect to the internet.