LEEDS, Ala. — A school district here is turning its bus fleet into mobile hot spots to help students in need in the event that virtual learning is needed due to the COVID-19 pandemic when schools reopen in the fall, WBRC reports.

Leeds City Schools is equipping 15 of its 20 buses with onboard Wi-Fi devices (five are already set up for connectivity), according to the news source. The initial goal in connecting the first handful of school buses was to provide online access for students traveling to athletic events or on their way to and from school. However, because it is still unknown how the pandemic will impact the beginning of the school year, the district is expediting the installation of the equipment. Leeds City Schools is offering in person and virtual learning for the fall, WBRC reports.

Lee Gibson, the district’s transportation director, told the news source that principals will send a survey to parents to find out how many students are likely to participate in virtual learning, and that will help determine where to park some of the buses.

The district is using CARES Act funds to pay for the Wi-Fi equipment installation, according to WBRC

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