By Jack Orloff
Austin ISD has received an award for providing Wi-Fi buses to the community during the early days of the pandemic.
The Texas Association of School Boards Risk Management award recognizes school districts who try to mitigate risks to student or staff safety. Typically risk management is focused on reducing collisions on the roadway. However, when the pandemic arrived it changed how the district had to approach safety.
Austin ISD’s Transportation Department quickly devised a way for buses to act as Wi-Fi hotspots, parking them in high-needs areas so our students could access the internet for their virtual lessons.
“Students were able to remain safer learning at home and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19,” said Kris Hafezizadeh, executive director of transportation and vehicle services.
The program also helped keep 630 employees working during the pandemic.
Hafezizadeh said that the program was possible because of their partnership with Kajeet Inc.
“As a department, we utilized a grant that allowed us to install Wi-Fi equipment on all school buses at no cost to the district,” he said.
The Wi-Fi hotspots caught the attention of the TASB, which has now awarded AISD the Risk Management Fund Award.
“It feels great to be recognized for our efforts,” Hafezizadeh said. “We always look into opportunities to be the best we can to continue providing a safe and reliable service for our students.”
The Texas Association of School Boards Risk Management fund will issue Austin ISD $1,000 to support its risk management initiatives.
For more information on the TASB Risk Management fund award, please visit www.tasbrmf.org.