'Park and Learn' initiative launched

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GOLDSBORO - Families who may lack reliable Internet at home now have additional options for their child to complete online assignments and activities as part of remote learning.

This week, Wayne County Public Schools (WCPS) and the United Way of Wayne County (UWWC) launched a “Park & Learn” initiative, which encourages families to take advantage of identified parking areas around Wayne County which offers free and publicly accessible WiFi for students to use.

“School is in session and we are making every effort to help students learn and grow academically during this period of remote learning,” said Michael Dunsmore, WCPS superintendent.

“As part of Governor Cooper’s Executive orders, remote learning has been deemed an essential function in North Carolina, which allows ‘Park & Learn’ to occur even under the Stay at Home Order. We appreciate the United Way of Wayne County for its collaborative partnership and for their efforts to engage community WiFi Sponsors to help us engage more students in remote learning.”

To remain in compliance with Governor Cooper’s Stay at Home Order, families and students taking advantage of “Park & Learn” opportunities must stay in their vehicle while parked and return home once they are completed.  

“At no time should any student or family member leave their vehicle to congregate with others who are also visiting the public WiFi sites,” said Dr. Dunsmore. “Because WiFi signal strength will vary from site to site, I would encourage families to find a ‘Park & Learn’ site that works best for their child and the mobile learning device they are using.”

Printed flyers promoting “Park & Learn” sites will be posted at WCPS schools, handed out with meals at the distribution sites, and will be promoted on social media. The UWWC will also be sharing out promotional information through its communication channels and community partners.

“Education is one of our key community focus areas,” said Sherry Archibald, Executive Director of UWWC. “In recent weeks, we have partnered with Wayne County Public Schools in a number of exciting and outside of the box efforts to support local students who may be struggling to access essential services during the state’s unprecedented response to COVID-19.

"This ‘Park & Learn” initiative is a great opportunity for organizations and businesses to partner with United Wayne and our schools in a community-wide effort to help every child in our county succeed academically.”

Businesses, churches, and/or other organizations interested in allowing students and families to use their parking lots to access their WiFi as part of the “Park & Learn” initiative should email rachel@unitedwayne.org or complete the following WiFi Sponsor form:  https://forms.gle/TkjJk8L43PnF9REQ7.

A complete list of “Park & Learn” locations can be found at www.unitedwayne.org/superheroes. Families can also call 919-735-3591 to help find a location near them. The site list will continue to be updated by UWWC as WiFi Sponsors are added.

A list of free and affordable WiFi options throughout North Carolina can also be found at https://www.ncbroadband.gov/covid19broadband/.

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