ELDON, Iowa — When Iowa began allowing Wi-Fi on school buses in July, one school district wasted no time in launching wireless Internet access on its buses.
Cardinal Community School District now has Wi-Fi-equipped buses, which will allow students to access the web on the way to and from school and activity trips.
The allowance for onboard Wi-Fi was one of multiple changes to Iowa's school bus specification rules that went into effect on July 16.
State pupil transportation director Max Christensen told SBF that school districts had been aware of the pending rule changes for about six months, and he got a lot of questions about the Wi-Fi provision.
“As the state director, I’m quite pleased to see our state and our districts being proactive in doing this,” Christensen said.
Joel Pedersen, superintendent of Cardinal Community School District, told the Ottumwa Courier that the district hopes that the Wi-Fi will help students in doing their homework on the bus and have a positive effect on passenger behavior.
"The devices are set up to be [heavy on] educational apps, so we hope it's about learning, but even for casual use, if we can minimize disruptions on the bus for the driver [by children engaged in] the casual use of Androids it might help resolve some of the challenges bus drivers face,” Pederson told the news source. “To me, that's one of the toughest jobs there is."