DHS WiFi Problems

Sophie Adamski, Reporter

Durango School District 9-R has undergone many significant changes in recent years, including the hiring of a new principal and a handful of updates to the standards and graduation requirements. Most of these changes are welcome; some, however, have fared worse than others and are rather controversial. The newly-installed WiFi hotspots have been cause for everything from annoyance to rage.

The hotspots – which costed $82,000 for Durango High School alone -are prone to malfunctioning, lagging, or simply not working. Reports of the WiFi interfering with teaching and learning have surfaced. Frustration with the performance is common.

Mike Awe, a representative from 9-R’s IT Department, says he’s pleased with the results of the hotspots. “I’m very proud of the ability to expand WiFi coverage throughout the district. Durango High School alone went from 28 access points throughout the building to over 85.”

As for the benefits of the hotspots, Mr. Awe stated that they benefit not only staff members and students, but guests and the general public as well. “It’s incredible that we were able to expand [the WiFi] as much as we have. There’s been a great increase in both capacity and signal coverage.”

It’s worth mentioning that not everyone has expressed frustration with the WiFi. A junior, who chose to remain anonymous, thinks the WiFi is more than enough for what the school needs. “I think the WiFi has worked great, honestly. They (the district) have done all they could do by putting routers in every classroom, and, I mean, there’s always something more they could have done with the money. I just think everything has worked great so far, so I think everything was put to good use.”

Ms. McClung, a Social Studies teacher at DHS, has said the WiFi has interfered with her teaching as well as her students’ learning. “I did… have issues with my desktop when it came to loading particular sites. It was not blocking them, per se, but the internet filters were preventing the sites from loading properly, thus hindering my teaching.

“There were also issues in a previous week with the WiFi when it came to Google. Google could not verify that the public WiFi was secure, so it prevented access to all Google Drive programs, including Google Classroom, which a lot of teachers use on a daily basis. That prevented many students in one of my classes from completing an activity for the day.”

Students attending DHS are being taught and raised in a world where technology is a must. Having slight mishaps is normal and generally understood, but having such problems on a regular basis is not.