WiFi hotspots offered for virtual learning

Robert C. Carpenter Building photo by Vickie Carpenter

The week of Sept. 7-11 will be virtual learning for all Macon County students. Officials expect students to be able to return to classes under Plan B beginning Sept. 14.

Brittney Lofthouse – Contributing Writer

After three weeks of hybrid in-person instruction for Macon County Schools, all students will spend next week doing virtual learning. The week of virtual learning was scheduled to line up with the Labor Day holiday and give the school system time to assess the first three weeks of school and best determine what actions needed to be taken moving forward with the school year. 

All elementary schools in Macon County have continued on Plan B since school opened on Aug. 17. Staffing shortages caused by positive COVID19 tests resulted in quarantine requirements at Franklin High School, Union Academy, Macon Middle School, and Mountain View Intermediate School having to transition to remote learning under Plan C last week. 

School officials plan to continue with virtual classes through next week and expect students to be able to return to the Plan B model beginning Sept. 14. 

WIFI access is available to students at all Macon County School locations. WiFi will extend to all front parking areas at each school and is available from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.

To address the lack of broadband and connectivity in Macon County, the school system has partnered with various churches and community centers to serve as remote learning sites to provide internet access and space for students to utilize for their school work. 

Partnering locations signed a Temporary Remote Learning agreement with Macon County Schools, which allows them to operate without needing a state license for a daycare or summer camp facility. Other partnering organizations have agreed to provide wifi to be utilized in their parking lots. 

Franklin area

– Bob C. Carpenter Community Building, 1288 Georgia Road.

– Parker Meadows, 4306 Patton Road, Franklin.

– Cowee School Arts & Heritage Center, 51 Cowee School Drive. The signal reaches both the upper and lower parking lots. The network is coweecommunity. The password is coweewifi.

– Franklin Chamber of Commerce, 98 Hyatt Road. Wifi available in the parking area, password on the door. Indoor learning space also available.

– Biltmore Baptist Church, 691 Sloan Road, Franklin.

 – Franklin Seventy-Day Adventist Church, 71 Brendle Road, Franklin.

Highlands area

 – Clear Creek Baptist Church, 250 Blue Valley Road. Contact Emily Chastain for a time to use the internet in the fellowship hall, ccp4emily@gmail.com

– First Baptist Church, 220 Main Street. Free WiFi available, private office space available & PC availability.

 – Highlands Rec Park Building, 52 Aunt Dora Dr. Building is still closed but free Wi-Fi access available in the parking area. 

 – Highlands School, 545 Person Dr., free WiFi access available in the parking area.

 – Hudson Library, 554 Main Street,  free WiFi access inside the library building/on the porch; parking area WiFi access will be available in the coming weeks.

 – Kelsey Hutchinson Park, free WiFi access available.

 – Old school house in Scaly, free WiFi access available in the parking area. 

 – The Mountain Retreat, 3872 Dillard Road, free WiFi access available.  Call ahead or stop by the main office area (adult supervision required).

– First Presbyterian Church, 471 Main Street, free WiFi access available from the main street parking area. WiFi password: 5268280784

Cowee School and Macon County Public Library are providing wifi access to students, but are not part of the Temporary Remote Learning Agreement with Macon County Schools.