With nearly all its classes now virtual due to COVID-19, Northern Essex Community College has found a productive use for its largely idle parking lots, making them Wi-Fi hot spots for students and local residents.
The college in early September began offering free Wi-Fi service at six of the eight parking lots on its Haverhill and Lawrence campuses, enabling students and community members to study and work online in their parked vehicles. The lots are otherwise nearly empty because so few classes are meeting on campus.
The initiative is a response to a survey the college undertook last spring in which students said spotty Internet service at home and finding a quiet place to study were two of the main challenges they faced in adjusting to remote learning, according to Ricardo “Danny” Rivera, Northern Essex’s assistant director of client technology and media services.
“We’ve always wanted to do outdoor Wi-Fi,”