Are your kids going virtual this school year? Here are your internet requirements

COVID-19 and schools

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The upcoming school year will see thousands of students spending more time online.

Wake County Public School System announced via Twitter they had a total of 78,792 students sign up for the district’s Virtual Academy. It was an increase from Monday mornings when 67,000 students were enrolled so far.

Enrollments so far as broken down as follows:

  • 35,500 Elementary students
  • 19,700 Middle students
  • 23,500 High students

For families with multiple students engaged in remote learning, it’s important to ensure you have sufficient internet connectivity.

Internet connectivity

Jeff Brady, an internet expert at Kinetic by Windstream said laptops, tablets and other smart devices may see a difference in internet speeds. Older devices may run slower than new devices operating on the same internet speed.

As far as speeds go, Brady said a speed of at least 50 Mbps is what families should look for if they plan on doing video conference calls or streaming services on multiple devices.

Source: FCC
Basic Service = 3 to 8 Mbps, Medium Service = 12 to 25 Mbps, Advanced Service = More than 25 Mbps

The FCC recommended speeds faster than 25 Mbps for households with four or more devices being used for telecommuting, video conferencing or other high-demand applications.

Brady recommended families consider fiber internet.

One gig of fiber is equivalent to 1,000 Mbps of broadband internet. It makes fiber internet the significantly quicker choice for households where multiple devices are used at the same time for high-demand purposes.

Safety online

With children spending more time online, Brady said parents need to consider safety. He said parents should keep internet security tools in mind.

He also recommended setting limits for your children’s screen time. Brady said it’s important for children to have the balance of tech time and outdoor play time.

Speaking with your students about strangers online and speaking up if something online makes the uncomfortable is more important than ever as internet use increases.

While the conversations can be difficult, Brady said parents should have conversations about online bullying and internet predators.

Connection issues

Source: Center for Rural Innovation

Click here to interact with the map above

The Center for Rural Innovation reported there are more than four million school-aged people across the country without broadband internet. It reported 95,000 of those students were in North Carolina. Of those the vast majority, 74,000 lived in rural communities.

The Eastern Cherokee Reservation had the states worst access. Ninety-nine percent of students there lacked in broadband access.

Closer to the Triangle, Wake County Public School System, Durham Public Schools and Cumberland County Public schools had less than one percent of students without broadband internet access. They were classified as having “good access”.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Sponsored Content
Visit Buy Local

Trending Stories