Free wifi installed at Marion County Schools for coronavirus distance learning

Parking lots at 10 schools equipped with wifi access

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – As students finish their third week of distance learning in Marion oCunty, families have a new way to access online coursework.

With help from the Ocala Fiber Network, 10 school parking lots are now equipped with free wifi.

Schools participating in the access include:

  • Dunnellon High School
  • Fort McCoy k-8
  • Lake Weir Middle School
  • North Marion High School
  • North Marion Middle School
  • Vanguard High School
  • Belleview Middle School
  • Forest High School
  • Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks
  • West Port High School

Parent Patty Carroll expressed her frustration over using internet at home with her three children.

"Once you get all of them on the wifi at home, nothing wants to open," she said. "It's just too much for the house internet, it can't handle it."

The partnership with the city of Ocala and the school district was made possible because the city was already working on a plan to bring wifi to downtown Ocala, and had several wifi access points available that could be reallocated to the necessary schools.

"We figured we have the opportunity to provide wifi to the kids to do their homework or their schoolwork," Mel Poole with Ocala Fiber Network said.

"We still have a few hiccups here and there, but our students are doing amazing," Marion County Public Schools spokesperson Kevin Christian said. "Many of the outlying areas in Marion county are not serviced with reliable internet."

From 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. during weekdays, students will be able to access learning materials online.

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