GTR Airport Launches SkyFi Learning Laboratory
Courtesy of Golden Triangle Regional Airport
On Monday, November 2, the Golden Triangle Regional Airport (GTR) began integrating open terminal space and high-speed Internet with the increase in online K-12 classes to offer free streaming Internet for students who might not have access at home.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, GTR has seen a 70 percent reduction in passengers since March, which leaves a lot of space available at the terminal. In addition, as part of the expansion that was completed in March, the airport upgraded the wireless Internet in the terminal.
Students in the surrounding counties are experiencing online learning at a rate never seen before. However, many, especially in more rural areas, are not able to access high-speed Internet to attend class and study.
“All of the county and city schools have expressed concern about students being able to use their computers at home,” says GTR Executive Director Mike Hainsey. “The situation is as simple as our having excess capacity and their having a need for WiFi. So, we developed this program to help meet that need.”
Dubbed the GTR SkyFi Learning Laboratory, students can schedule a desk in the upstairs part of the terminal by either calling or going online if they can. The service is free, but students must schedule a time to ensure access. Students ages 16 and under must be accompanied by a responsible adult, age 21 or over. To ensure a focused learning environment, only students and their adult escorts are allowed in the laboratory. In addition, the GTR Airport Authority is picking up the parking tab for students utilizing the laboratory.
All CDC COVID-19 protocols are followed. Masks are mandatory, and each work area is cleaned between uses.
“We are hoping to help students throughout the Golden Triangle cope with the challenges the pandemic has brought,” says Hainsey. “The GTR SkyFi Learning Laboratory is just one way we can help serve our communities.”
More about the program is posted under the SkyFi link on www.GTRA.com.