Rural Cumberland County family frustrated with connectivity issues as remote learning starts

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- For Jenny Rhoden the rural roads in her community lead to home. It's tough getting a phone signal on a normal day.

When the district declared students would start the school year off remotely from home, she knew her freshmen and sophomore students would be in trouble.

"You have to move around until you get a few bars. Most of the time we have to go outside to talk," said Rhoden.

Her teenagers attend South View High School.

The district deployed a school bus equipped with WIFI to the Stoney Point Fire Department in their community.

"I get on and it just disconnects. It just keeps crashing," said 15-year-old Gracie Rhoden.

"It was terrible. We tried so hard. Until I got to the point, where I went down there the fire department. I got down there and the signal was still weak down there," said Rhoden.

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The Rhoden family has now opted to use their cellphone as hotspots from home. It's a temporary and costly option until there's a better solution.

"You need to get better WIFI hot spots than what you are doing. Now everyone can connect especially where they live at," said Rhoden.

Cumberland County Schools Spokesman Lindsay Whitley released the following statement:

"We anticipated some issues would arise and put into place Operation Smooth Start, which gives us the first 10 days of school to 'iron-out' any remote-learning issues. Students in need of devices will not be penalized as we navigate through the first two weeks of school. This is a new normal, but we will continue learning and growing together. "

Whitley told ABC11 the district is deploying 2,000 hotspots to students on Wednesday. If parents need one or having trouble accessing Google Meet, contact the district.
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