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Verizon Wi-Fi hotspot recall affecting Chula Vista Elementary School District amid distance learning

Posted at 9:57 AM, Apr 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-10 12:57:14-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) -- The Chula Vista Elementary School District is warning parents after Verizon recalled millions of mobile Wi-Fi hotspots due to a risk of overheating.

The district says Verizon issued the recall after the US Consumer Product Safety Commission cited situations where the battery inside the device can overheat “posing a fire and burn hazard.”

“The safety of our students, families, and staff members is our top priority. Our District is working diligently, in concert with SDCOE and Verizon, to exchange all recalled Ellipsis Jetpack devices as quickly and efficiently as possible,” the district says.

The district says it plans to notify parents of how they can exchange the devices next week.

Some students within the district will return to campuses on April 12, while others will continue distance learning.

The district says Verizon plans to push out two software updates. Below is a list of what parents and teachers should do to reduce risk:

• Students will need to power on their devices in order to receive the software update.
• The updates will prevent the device from charging while the device is plugged in and powered on.
• Preventing the device from charging while it is plugged in removes one of the heat-causing variables and helps to reduce some of the risk of overheating associated with the small number of incidents Verizon has seen with the Ellipsis Jetpacks.
• Students will know the software update has been applied when they see the device’s identifying number scrolling across its screen.
• After the software update is applied, students should leave the device powered on while it is plugged in.
• When not in use, the device should be turned off, unplugged from its power source, and securely stored until you receive your replacement device and packaging to return the Ellipsis Jetpack safely.

The school also sent parents a list of ways to safely operate the devices:

• When not in use, turn the device off and unplug it.
• Place your device on a flat, solid and sturdy surface such as a floor or table.
• For proper ventilation, do not use the device in a bed, sofa, chair or other soft surface, and ensure your device is not covered by a pillow, blanket or other item.
• Keep devices near room temperature when in use.
• Use only approved charging cables, including the cable provided.
• Do not expose the units to extreme temperatures for extended periods of time.
• Do not expose the unit or its battery to water or other liquids.
• Do not drop the units and do not insert foreign objects into the battery or unit.