As COVID-19 continues to increase the demand for internet access, and the resources normally available to those without access to broadband internet at home are limited, partners throughout St. Joseph County are working with the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC) to establish public WiFi outdoor access points at 18 school buildings throughout the county.
ITDRC is a nationwide, volunteer driven 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides no cost Information, Communications, and Technology resources to communities in need. This initiative is in addition to resources available through individual school districts, and is open to both students and the general public.
“Internet access has been a vital component to the COVID-19 response and recovery efforts,” St. Joseph County Emergency Management Director Erin Goff said. “We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity afforded by ITDRC to have internet access points available in so many school locations.”
St. Joseph County Grant Writer James Hissong worked with St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Office – Emergency Management, St. Joseph County ISD, and Glen Oaks Community College to submit a joint application to ITDRC. “This model is being used all across the country to assist with internet access during the coronavirus pandemic. The idea is to extend WiFi networks from public facilities so that people can access the internet from the safety of their vehicles,” Hissong said.
Free public WiFi networks can now be accessed in the parking lots of the following school buildings:
- Centreville Jr/Sr High School, 190 Hogan St – NE Corner of HS Building
- Colon Elementary School, 328 East State St – Westside of Ele. Building
- Colon Jr/Sr High School, 400 Dallas St – Eastside of HS Building
- Constantine Eastside Ele. School, 935 White Pigeon Rd – Southside of Ele. Building
- Constantine High School, 1 Falcon Dr – Eastside of HS Building
- Glen Oaks Community College, 62249 Shimmel Rd – Westside of Student Residence Building
- Leonidas Elementary School, 30945 Church St – Eastside of Ele. Building
- Mendon Elementary School, 306 Lane St – Northwest of Ele. Building
- Mendon Jr/Sr High School, 148 Kirby Rd – Westside of Building
- Nottawa Community School, 26438 M-86 – NE Corner of Building
- St. Joseph County Intermediate School District, 62445 Shimmel Rd – Southside of Admin Building
- Sturgis Public School Central Commons, 107 West West St – Southside of Admin Building
- Sturgis Middle School, 1400 East Lafayette St – Westside of Building
- Three Rivers Andrews Elementary, 200 South Douglas Ave – Northside of Ele. Building
- Three Rivers High School, 700 6th Ave – Southside of HS Building
- Three Rivers Norton Elementary, 59692 Arthur L Jones Rd – Northside of Ele. Building
- Three Rivers Park Elementary, 53806 Wilbur Rd – Eastside of Ele. Building
- White Pigeon Jr/Sr High School, 410 Prairie Ave – Westside of HS (Near Gym)
- White Pigeon Elementary School, 305 East Hotchin Ave – NW Corner of Ele. Building
“We are grateful for the support of the ITRDC to install WiFi access points for school parking lots to create access opportunities for families across the county,” Teresa Belote, St. Joseph County ISD Superintendent, said. “While schools have been and will continue to work on safe return plans for school this fall, this is another step forward in the ongoing efforts to improve access to additional resources.”
A map of public WiFi hotspots can be found here.