BARNEGAT – At a recent Board of Education meeting, a representative from the district’s Science, Health, and Technology Committee reported that the student wireless connection has been shut down in the Barnegat High School.
Barnegat High School Principal Stephen Nichol confirmed that the wireless had in fact been shut down as of Jan. 2, when school resumed after the winter break. However, a new wireless connection was set up in place of this for only staff members to use throughout the school day.
Nichol said that since the change, he has received no complaints from teachers or staff members. “It was wanted by probably 95 percent of the teachers,” he said.
As most might assume, the student access to the wireless was cut off after students were taking advantage of the free connection on their phones during school hours. Nichol said that student activity on their phones was diminishing their lessons throughout the day, thus a change needed to be made.
For the new wireless connection, staff members need to go directly to the IT department of the high school to have their phones and personal laptops or other devices connected.
“I don’t even know the password,” said Nichol.
Now that the students have been cut off from wireless during school hours, Nichol noted that he has seen an increase in the number of students who come to use the main office phone. He also noted that this change might help students to interact more with each other during free time and lunch periods, instead of staring at their devices.
“We are one of the first (schools) to cut it out,” he said. Some schools don’t even have their own wireless connection, so Barnegat HS seems to be ahead of the game on more than one front.
So far, through teacher input, Nichol noted that the wireless change has been well-received.
From 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. – the regular operating school hours- the wireless connection is only accessible to those who are remotely connected. After 3 p.m., students and other individuals are able to connect to the wireless if needed. This helps people who might need to make calls or look something up who come into the school after hours, such as a delivery person or a parent picking up their child, said Nichol. It also helps if students run into problems during extracurricular activities or need to use their phone for something after hours.
In this way, the wireless is both useful to students and staff, but not distracting during class time.