When Osage Community School District switched over to e-leaning and using the program Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Osage Municipal Utilities stepped up to help those families who may not have the internet access required to access the learning resources.
According to OMU’s general manager Josh Byrnes he asked the school for a list of families who did not have internet access a week before the school shut down on March 17. Byrnes called the families on the list and offered them a free internet package which would give them a 25/5 download and upload speed, which would be just enough for kids to have access to Zoom and the other school resources they would need during this e-learning period.
Byrnes said that a lot of families accepted the offer, and those who didn’t had other options such as grandparents and/or a divorced family where at least one parent had internet access.
When he talked to middle school principal Sarah Leichsenring she said that when the school first used Zoom 95% of the middle school student body was present on the call.
OMU even had a college student from ISU who was home bound in Osage due to the virus call in and they were able to help him set up internet access by walking him through how to set it up inside his house and then setting up the necessary materials outside the home.
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OMU is considered an essential business and the company is continuing to help people to make sure every customer’s lights, gas, TV, internet, and phone are all working properly.
In a recent press release Byrnes said, “It’s imperative that we keep the lights on while taking the necessary steps to protect our employees and our communities.”
Molly Adamson is the community editor for the Press News. You can reach her at 515-508-1134.