The Education Partnership Committee met on Oct. 13 for its monthly meeting.
One thing on the agenda that has been a topic of interest was the discussion about Internet connection at Lucerne Elementary Secondary School in New Denver.
The issue first came up about seven years ago, with parents, staff, and the community deciding to go with wiredEthernet cable to provide Internet. The school has computer drops in classrooms,
and a central computer lab to provide Internet to students.
Currently the school board is debating whether to continue with Ethernet and
rewire the cable, or go for wireless Internet.
“At its last meeting the board indicated an interest in potentially considering information regarding comparisons of educational implications of using both wired and wireless technology,” said Terry Taylor, superintendent/secretary-treasurer of the Education Partnership Committee.
With an upgrade to the Ethernet, the cables would be fixed and upgraded and the number of wired drops in each room would be increased. An upgrade would also see an increase in network speed and reliability.
If the school board decides to go wireless, it will have the same upgrades as the Ethernet, but will feature an extra six hot spots for wireless Internet.
In their consultations with parents, the school board discovered some parents were concerned with potential health risks involving wireless Internet, including exposure to radiation.
“The documents that I’ve been giving the school board through the years are from groups of scientists,” said Julie Greenlaw, one of the parents opposed to the school going wireless. “The list of sources that we have given through the years from international bodies showing health effects below Safety Code 6 are quite substantial.”
The purpose of Safety Code 6 is to establish safety limits for human exposure to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic energy in the frequency range from 3 kHz to 300 GHz.
The school board hasn’t made a decision about which system it will go with. At the Oct. 13 meeting, a third option for Internet — fibre op — was presented.
Fibre op is a technology that uses glass or plastic threads to transmit data. A fibre optic cable consists of a bundle of threads, each of which is capable of transmitting messages modulated onto light waves.
When the school board makes a decision, the installation will happen at a time least disturbing to students. Typically large maintenance jobs are done during school breaks — Christmas, spring break or summer.