BVH faces recurring Wi-Fi outages

English+9+and+Global+Scholars+teacher+Gina+Vattuone+is+taking+attendance+online%2C+while+students+have+their+laptops+open+and+ready+to+learn.+This+processes+is+slowed+when+the+district+WiFi+malfunctions.

Anaissa L. Del Rio

English 9 and Global Scholars teacher Gina Vattuone is taking attendance online, while students have their laptops open and ready to learn. This processes is slowed when the district WiFi malfunctions.

Lauralai Gilbert, Photographer

Wi-Fi outages have been occurring during the school day on Bonita Vista High (BVH) school grounds. These issues first began the week back from Thanksgiving break. On Nov. 29th, BVH school’s Wi-Fi crashed for the entire day, making the internet connection unavailable for students, teachers and staff to use. This issue re-occurred on Dec. 7, 2021, and Dec. 8, 2021. 

Teachers were not able to continue their internet-backed lessons in class and instead had to change their lesson plans to adapt to the sudden Wi-Fi issues. French and Spanish teacher Patrick Beaulieu expressed feelings of disappointment as a result of the Wi-Fi outages.

“It’s been really frustrating. All of my materials are online now because I’ve migrated over to Google Classroom; all the books are digital,” Beaulieu said. “If the Wi-Fi is down, I don’t have access to those materials, to my work and the students can’t hand in work either.”

Moreover, teachers like Beaulieu asked students to go on their personal devices or to work on paper to complete their assignments and move forward with the lesson plans. He described that the Wi-Fi issues not only pose challenges to teachers but also to students.  

“Some students don’t have transportal telephones, or they don’t have access to the internet. So, it’s a real disadvantage for those [students],” Beaulieu said. 

Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and Accelerated Biology teacher Michelle Mardahl Ph.D. was preparing for an AP Biology test for her students. However, the test required students to go on their computers and most students were unable to take the test due to the Wi-Fi issues, resulting in Mardahl postponing the test. 

Some students were able to get on to my AP classroom and start the test, and [for] some  [students], the test kept loading. Nothing happened then it crashed,” Mardahl said. “One student lost their entire test and had to do it again.” 

BVH sophomore Noah Kircher described that the last-minute changes due to the Wi-Fi outages forced him to improvise and use his cell phone for the internet since the Wi-Fi was not working for his computer. Kircher has become more reliant on technology since the pandemic and remote learning began. This reliance created an increased challenge for him, and for students on campus who depend on the Wi-Fi to review class materials, as well as study for upcoming final examinations.

“I try to use my phone, but [it] is pretty slow, so it doesn’t really work. Sometimes teachers would have paper copies, but [the experience] is not as great,” Kircher said.

The inability to study without a working and reliable internet creates challenging situations within BVH. Beaulieu, Mardahl and Kircher experienced shared frustrations amidst the Wi-Fi disruptions that occurred at BVH. 

“It is very stressful because we’re not able to learn as well, especially with finals. If we are not able to use our laptops or technology, it makes [learning and completing assignments] a lot more difficult,” Kircher said.

Not only was BVH facing this struggling challenge, but other schools around the Sweetwater Union School District (SUHSD) experienced it as well. According to Mardahl “it was a district-wide phenomenon.” Within the first two weeks of December, schools around SUHSD experienced multiple days of internet outages. 

“I always have backup [lesson plans] in mind because I’m paranoid—if everything fails, what can I do?” Mardahl said. 

We are so dependent on the internet. We really need to invest in our infrastructure so that kids have better laptops and better Wi-Fi”

— Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and Accelerated Biology teacher Michelle Mardahl Ph.D.

BVH students and staff are hopeful that the school will soon find a solution to mitigate future Wi-Fi disconnection which has previously resulted in a disruption in completing assignments, testing and overall learning during school hours. 

We are so dependent on the internet. We really need to invest in our infrastructure so that kids have better laptops and better Wi-Fi,” Mardahl said.