JSD extending WiFi at all schools in the district

WiFi range being extended to cover parking lots at schools, stadium and admin building.

JOPLIN, Mo. – As we get into the school year, Joplin has more students than ever voluntarily taking classes online.

There are around 1400 students enrolled in virtual classes this year, much higher than the around 150 they had last year.

“If they need a laptop, we are supplying a laptop right now. But it’s the internet that has us concerned,” says Eric Pitcher, Director of Technology for Joplin School District.

So, the district is extending the WiFi at every school in the district, so that the range will cover the entirety of every parking lot.

“We’re hoping that since neighborhood schools are pretty much scattered throughout the city and something will be pretty close for somebody to get to if they have to attach to WiFi,” says Pitcher.

They also plan to extend the WiFi at Junge Stadium and at the Administration building, so that students will have easy access to a place to download and turn in assignments. Something that they tried to do last year — but this time around, they’re doing it better.

“When school got let out because of the pandemic, we just tried to bump up our signal,” says Pitcher. “That was an in the moment kind of thing, and it was pretty effective. We saw students like around the building exterior, and so we wanted to expand that.”

The district received equipment through the HP Aruba grant program, which was installed at the High School. They are currently working to get the equipment installed at all of the other schools, and in some cases, it will extend into surrounding neighborhoods. It will be a couple of months before all of the work is done.

“I just know that it’s gonna be tough times until we can get a vaccine or this gets resolved, so we’re just trying to help everybody that we can,” says Pitcher.

The entire project will cost around 50-thousand dollars. But half of that is being covered through grants.