School District Warns of Rare Overheating Issue in Verizon Hotspots

Officials with the Canby School District are advising students and families of reports that a very small number — less than 0.001% — of mobile internet hotspots marketed by Verizon have significantly overheated and caused “heat-related damage.”

And in case you were wondering: No, that’s not supposed to happen. That’s not the reason they’re called “hotspots.”

A “large number” of the hotspots the district has deployed to families for distance learning in the past year have been identified as the same model of those susceptible to the issue, officials said. A picture of the affected model is available here.

Just over 600 of these devices are currently in use in the Canby School District, Technology Director Bret Adkins told The Canby Current Wednesday.

Verizon and the device’s manufacturer are investigating the cause of these incidents, and the district said they are working with the telecommunications giant to provide options for exchanging students’ devices if they choose.

District staff advise that if you are currently using a hotspot that becomes unreasonably warm when charging or in use, please contact your school for support. More information is expected in the near future.

The manufacturer recommends that families using these devices use only the provided cable and adapted to charge the device, and unplug them when fully charged. The devices should not be plugged in continuously.

Keep your device at room temperature and ensure it is not covered when in use, and power down your device when not in use.

When forced to pivot to a distance learning model last spring, district officials had to confront the grim reality that 1 in 5 students (15 to 20%) did not have reliable access to the internet and digital technology.

While local telecommunications providers worked with districts and families in their coverage areas to bridge gaps, for many, a mobile hotspot was the only reliable answer. Last August, the district received a state grant of nearly $9,000 to purchase more hotspots for students’ use.

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