A push to bring Wi-Fi to students on the Navajo Nation is made urgent by the pandemic

in People
Monument Valley  On a windswept hill atop a nondescript mesa in San Juan County, Aaron Brewer, education technology director for the San Juan School District, looked out over half of southern Utah.

Navajo Mountain loomed to the west; the Henry Mountains and Bears Ears Buttes framed the sky to the north, and to the east Sleeping Ute Mountain and the La Plata Mountains sparkled with fresh Colorado snow. But the southern view was most impressive: the towers of nearby Monument Valley hanging huge and jagged on the horizon.

Between these high landmarks lay a thousand canyons and arroyos, long spines of uplifted sandstone and green pockets fed by hidden springs. The dramatic landscape is not some uninhabited wilderness, however, but home to thousands of people living on the northern reaches of the Navajo Nation, and it’s Brewer’s job to help connect the students in those homes to the worldwide web.

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