Students, teachers and parents will now have access to free wifi hotspots around the Eastern Upper Peninsula for schooling purposes.


Announced by the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District, residents can drive up to utilize and access the internet at various community centers across the region. This was enacted in the midst of the mandatory closure of school buildings while learning still expected to happen online. These hotspots will also enable communication opportunities for teachers, students and parents. It will also give students the opportunity to download course materials, upload completed work, access online learning resources and check in with their teachers and classmates.


“We have worked closely with the ISD on this project and are thankful and appreciative for their support in the effort to provide remote Internet access for the students,” said Superintendent of Sault Schools Dr. Tim Hall. “The cancellation of face-to-face instruction certainly created a situation in which schools had to quickly create alternative ways to reach our students. Our teachers have done remarkable work in creating these revised approaches, and the creation of the hotspots will allow our students to have even more interaction with, and support from, the teachers. We are all looking forward to returning to a more normal scenario next fall. Until then, we will continue to work to serve the needs of our students and the hotspots will be an integral part of that effort going forward.”


The goal is to implement 100 hotspot access boards and is made possible thanks to a partnership between local schools, communities, EUPISD, AT&T, Cisco Meraki and FirstNet.


Five access points have already been placed in rural areas: Barbeau at the Holy Family Catholic Church, Dafter at the Bruce Township Hall, Sault Ste. Marie at Dafter Township Hall, Sugar Island Community Center and Big Bear Arena.


“Strategic geographical placement of these managed wi-fi hotspots is necessary to provide internet access to the greatest number of students in the region,” said the organization in a press release. “The EUPISD serves over 6,500 students in 19 constituent school districts spanning a 4,000 square mile region. Area school districts are seeking community organizations that will allow residents, parents and students to use their parking lot to drive up and connect to the internet while continuing to observe social distancing guidelines. The access board will be installed inside the building near their parking lot.”


Organizations that are interested in participating in this project are encouraged to complete a form at eupschools.org/hotspots.