School bus wi-fi

A school bus parked at the East Point Community Center is one of 44 buses offering free wi-fi to students and parents across Cullman County. 

Students in the Cullman County School System are working remotely for the first two weeks of the new semester, and the system has placed school buses around the county with wi-fi routers to provide free internet service to those who do not have access at home. 

Cullman County Schools Transportation Director Jeff Harper said 44 of the system's 109 buses will be parked in strategic locations around the county to allow for parents to park next to them and download any class materials their child needs while working remotely.

He said school principals will be sharing the map of bus locations on their social media pages and the Cullman County Schools Facebook page will also have a map for people to find the bus closest to them, but the buses are parked in very visible locations that should be easy for anyone to find as they are driving through the county. 

"We've got them in some high profile places," he said. "We've got them at community centers, fire departments and businesses that are in pretty high-volume traffic areas."

Harper said anyone who parks next to a bus should look for the network named "CCBOE-Bus" and enter the password "Cullman1" to log into the wi-fi. 

The buses will be parked every weekday — with the exception of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Jan. 18 — from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until schools return to traditional learning on Jan. 19, Harper said. 

In the event that schools remain in remote learning past Jan. 19, the current plan is to keep parking the buses in communities around the county to make sure parents and students can still access the internet, he said. 

Harper said the system first parked the buses on Wednesday and began spreading the word about them, and he began receiving immediate feedback from parents who were happy the system the was providing the internet access.

"This thing has really taken off," he said. "We've got a lot of folks who are already parking next to these buses, and we just want to get the word out."

Tyler Hanes can be reached at 256-734-2131 ext. 238.

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