Even though school is closed, on a given day there are about a dozen cars lined up in the parking lot of Sanderson Academy in Ashfield with people using the school’s Wi-Fi.
Natalie Szewczyk is one of them. The 18-year-old has turned her Toyota Corolla into a mobile work station.
“I stay in my driver’s seat. I push my seat all the way back,” she explained. “And then I prop my Chromebook on the steering wheel with my work on the passenger seat.”
Her sister, who is in 10th grade, usually takes the back seat.
Like many residents from this western Massachusetts community, Szewczyk’s only way to get internet at home is through cell service, and that’s spotty at best. So in order to do school work she has to drive to a Wi-Fi hotspot. Most weekdays, she spends about three hours at this school parking lot.
“It kind of blows my mind that people can wake up and just open their computer, check their assignments, plan out their day and be like, ‘Oh I’ll do this [assignment] and then I’ll go on a walk and then I’ll do another assignment and then make lunch,” Szewczyk said.
It’s also hard to communicate with teachers if she has a question when she’s finishing work at home.
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