SAIPAN — The Public School System, in collaboration with IT&E and the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Division of Youth Services, is providing its students with high-speed internet services, Education Commissioner Alfred Ada said.
Aside from 3,000 MiFi devices that were distributed to households, PSS is also installing wireless routers with increased bandwidth at all youth centers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, he added.
Adapting to the government-imposed restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, PSS opened the school year by conducting remote learning classes, which require reliable internet access.
At the new Division of Youth Services office in Kagman, for example, PSS and IT&E have installed three wireless routers and will add three more for increased bandwidth.
In an interview on Wednesday, Ada said the WiFi connections for students and other members of the public will be used strictly for educational purposes.
PSS, he added, will block "inappropriate sites." These "hot spots" are "not open for everything on the internet," he added. "Everything will be streamlined for educational purposes only."
Youth centers on Tinian and Rota will also have WiFi, Ada said, as PSS "tries to pump up more internet connectivity available for the students."
As for the MiFi devices, Ada said these will provide students at home with internet access for educational purposes.
The MiFi is linked to Blackboard Learn, a platform PSS uses for online classes, Ada said, as he expressed gratitude to IT&E for providing the platform for free.
As of Wednesday, he said everyone should already have their MiFi devices and/or laptops. PSS is procuring 1,000 MiFi devices in addition to the 3,000 that have already been distributed, he added.
These additional MiFi devices will serve as backups, and for special education students who are attending online classes, Ada said.
"So with the WiFi and the MiFi internet connectivity and the Blackboard for free, there is no reason for the students to not log in to their classes and learn their online lesson," Ada said.