Patrick Henry Community College completed a WiFi expansion to convert three of its parking lots into hot spots to assist students’ ability to connect to their online coursework.

Officials on Wednesday closed buildings on the campus to the public, and workers began to install equipment to ensure all students would have a way to access the internet. Now, students or staff members who have no home internet can come to the campus and can work from their cars, a release from the school said.

“To significantly limit the number of people that are in our buildings and to encourage social distancing, all of our buildings are closed to the public,” PHCC spokesperson Amanda Broome said in a follow-up email. “We are inviting students to come to our parking lots and work from their cars if they need access to the internet.”

The college’s Information Technology division purchased and installed WiFi portals outside Stone Hall on PHCC’s main campus, the MET Complex on Motorsports Drive and PHCC’s initial Patrick County site. Students can connect to these access points from the parking lots adjacent to these facilities.

“We have so many students who, under normal conditions, would come to campus and use our computer labs to complete their homework,” PHCC President Angeline Godwin said in the release announcing the project. “We knew we had to quickly find an alternative that we could offer these students. I am so proud of our team for rallying to swiftly meet this need.”

College officials said that security presence will be increased to ensure the campus remains a safe place to work. Students coming to the main campus are encouraged to park as close to Stone Hall as possible for optimal signal strength.

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