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Zumarie Sepulveda describes how turning their family dining room into a classroom for their five school-aged kids who are remote learning has worked.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

At this time last year, the Rochester City School District thought it had finally found a way to ensure that its students had reliable internet access to do their schoolwork at home.

It distributed about 10,000 MiFi hot spot devices with 10 gigabytes of data each — plenty, in theory, for a few hours of work after school each night.

“They were meant to be a supplemental use in addition to school or library connectivity,” RCSD Executive Director of Instructional Technology Glen VanDerwater said. “Of course, then, March 13 hit.”

March 13 was the last day of in-person classes before COVID-19 turned education on its head. Now, those MiFi devices are serving as the primary portal to education, not as a supplement.