SAN ANGELO, Texas — A mixture of timing, coincidence and generosity has led to a remarkable partnership between two departments within the City of San Angelo.
Since San Angelo schools moved online because of coronavirus prevention efforts, officials have been trying to find ways to provide students and teachers with MiFi devices. When they reached out to their WiFi carrier, Verizon, the associate from the company had what has proved to be an extremely helpful recommendation.
“We received a phone call from SAISD who said that they have been in contact with their carrier, Verizon which is who we do business with as well. We’re very thankful that the Verizon representative pointed out to them that the police department is going through an upgrade and might have some units that can help them. So, we were able to reach out to them and give them more than 120 of these MiFi units," Tracy Piatt-Fox, San Angelo Police Department Public Information Officer, said.
The SAPD is upgrading the MiFi devices in its officers' patrol fleet vehicles. Under the usual circumstances, the devices being removed would probably sit in a box and go unused, according to Piatt-Fox. Now, they are being used to help students and teachers have access to school online.
“We have to think about the teachers, too. Unfortunately, they are in a profession that does not pay well. We’re learning that several teachers don’t have WiFi or internet access at their homes. So, this is a blessing to the teachers, as well as the students," Piatt-Fox said.
The police department's goal over the next few weeks is to hand over MiFi devices to SAISD every day, according to Piatt-Fox.
She is hopeful that the connections made and generosity given during this time of social distancing will last far beyond the virus and make the whole community stronger.
"That’s the goal: to really survive this event, learn from it, build relationships, so that, if we are faced with similar challenges again, we’ll know who to reach out to, we’re better connected as a community, and that’s going to help us transition to a point of healing a lot quicker," she said.