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Burlington schools look to boost wifi connection to students without internet

Schools are now trying to keep students connected through E-learning, but in some rural areas, technology is a challenge.

BURLINGTON, Iowa — Schools are now trying to keep students connected through E-learning, but in some rural areas, technology makes that a challenge.

More than 250 students in the Burlington School District don't have internet access according to curriculum director Cory Johnson.

"We are trying to figure out what is the best way to push our district wifi into those neighborhoods, into those communities," Johnson said.

Wifi in the schools can only reach about to the playground, so now, the district is trying to find ways to get all students connected from home.

They partnered with internet company, Winegard, to install antennas on seven different rooftops in areas where students don't have wifi. 

"We have identified where we know a lot of our students live without internet," Johnson said.

The antennas will take the district wifi from inside and push it outside.

"They are hoping to get on this is somewhere between a quarter and a half mile," Johnson said about the antennas. "That does not mean that every student is going to be able to sit in their bedroom and access, it does. not mean that it is going to get in every home."

Students may still need to sit outside in their front yards to connect, but this will prevent students from leaving their homes.

The district is not punishing any student who can't access wifi. 

"We are at a point right now where we cant ensure that we can get every student connected, but we are trying to do is get every student we can connected, so that we can get them engaged," Johnson said.

Johnson said they hope to have the antennas running by the end of the week.