The ICCSD provides additional support for families who need internet access, including direct at-home internet service through Mediacom. When Mediacom does not cover the household or the current installment of cable internet service takes too long, the district provides the family with a temporary WiFi hotspot to use. Families can access these resources by filling out the technological support request form on the district’s website or calling 319-688-1950.
Typically, the district receives 16,000 to 18,000 support requests throughout an entire school year. According to Director of Technology and Innovation Adam Kurth, this year, the district received 8,000 support requests within the first three weeks of school alone. After these three weeks, the district saw fewer technology support requests as the school year continued, and Kurth views this as a promising trend.
“For many of those students, we’ve already provided internet where that would be an issue,” Kurth said. “That’s an indication that most families who need the service already have it, and that’s a good thing, and they’ll keep that service regardless of what enrollment mode they’re in.”
Despite the district’s best efforts to provide those in need, Weitz feels there are still students who lack reliable technology.
“The district has worked very hard to provide students with hotspots, but unfortunately, the data sometimes runs out. The internet speed on a hotspot can also be an issue,” Weitz said. “If a student has problems with technology, I work with the family to find a solution, whether that is requesting a new hotspot from the district or making an appointment for Chromebook repair.”
Another service the district has provided is free grab-and-go meals for families. This began following the first school closure due to COVID-19 and subsequent transition to online learning last March. Everyone is eligible for the grab-and-go meals, regardless of their family’s income level.
According to ICCSD Nutrition Director Alison Demory, there were over 495,000 meals served from March 23 to the end of August.
“I was proud of my staff … we were those essential workers that had to come out and make sure that families and students in this community had access to meals since school wasn’t open,” Demory said. “We know that lots of students rely on those meals, and we wanted to make sure that we were still able to provide those for anybody that wanted them.”
The grab-and-go meals include breakfast and lunch, and the menu has expanded over time. Meal options now include items that families can take home and warm up. For Demory, providing this service has been a gratifying experience.
“There’ve been a lot of challenges we’ve had to navigate,” Demory said. “We want to make sure that we keep everybody safe. As stressful as all of those things are, it’s just been very rewarding to feed our families.”