Internet outage at high school causes disruption to EOC testing, classrooms

PattonvilleTODAY staff

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Students were unable to connect to websites on Wednesday after a hardware failure to the main switch knocked out connectivity to the Internet.

UPDATE (Thursday, 11:05 a.m.): Students and staff were able to connect to the Internet on Thursday with only minimal problems.

“We ordered a piece of hardware that should be here by now and that will be put in place after school today,” iLearn Service Center Manager Travis Harder said. “There is a temporary piece of hardware from the company we ordered the new piece from that is currently in place.”

Students and staff were able to connect to the Internet with minimal problems including printing and accessing websites.

The piece is scheduled to be installed after school on Thursday.

 

ORIGINAL STORY (Wednesday, 2:25 p.m.) The high school experienced an Internet outage near the end of the school day on Tuesday, which was caused by hardware failure to the main switch used for Internet connectivity. Service was not available at all during the day on Wednesday.

“This was a switch that went out and we are in the process of getting it fixed but it’s not a part we have on hand,” district technology specialist Mr. Joe Gutierrez said. “The Internet might be limited and it might be slow until we get the new part but we are working on things to get it fixed.”

He’s been trying to patch a way the data is routed.

“We are trying a different switch but it doesn’t have the same capabilities of the main switch.”

The week’s schedule was altered to accommodate statewide EOC testing for Algebra I and Government students.

Mr. Greg Adam’s Algebra I students were taking the online test when the Internet outage occurred on Tuesday.

“We had about four out of 12 students not finish the test and I would be really surprised if the state allows us to finish,” Adam said. “We aren’t allowed to stop in the middle of testing, and because we were unable to re-connect, the students probably won’t be able to finish.”

Mr. Richard Klosterman’s 7th hour Algebra I class was scheduled to take the 110-minute test this morning but they didn’t even get to attempt it.

“We went on with a lesson about parabolas instead of testing,” Klosterman said. “Not having the Internet didn’t really mess with anything because we didn’t even start testing but I don’t know when they will reschedule these students to take it.”

The planned make-up testing day according to the EOC schedule sent to teachers is Monday, Dec. 5.

According to Gutierrez, they have been attempting a number of workarounds and patches, but have not been successful in bringing back full Internet service, but some teachers have found an alternate solution.

Ms. Casey Christensen used her iPhone as a hotspot to connect to the Internet during the outage.

Ms. Casey Christensen used her iPhone as a hotspot to connect to the Internet during the outage.

History teacher Ms. Casey Christensen said she’s been using her iPhone as a hotspot all day.

“We’ve had teachers put in grades, check email and we even had two students apply to college,” Christensen said. “We’ve also been AirDropping papers and working on projects.”

They have been able to have up to five people using the hotspot at one time.

Gutierrez said the technology department is trying to settle the patchwork.

“We are trying to ease the traffic that we have on the network right now,” Gutierrez said. “To be honest, everyone having their phones and other devices on the network isn’t helping things, but this was a hardware failure. It was not caused by usage.”

The district is continuing to put in a workaround that will fix the problem until the replacement switch arrives mid-day on Thursday.

“We are hoping that by doing that, we at least can have some Internet access to people until we get the new one in,” Gutierrez said.

Due to the Internet outage, all FuelEd classes on Wednesday afternoon were canceled and assistant principal Mr. Jon Fitzgerald made an announcement for teachers to be prepared for limited access on Thursday.

“Plan to have limited WiFi tomorrow,” Fitzgerald said at about 2:15 p.m. over the intercom. “It should be fixed by mid-day but be advised to limit your Internet use for the immediate future.”

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Internet outage at high school causes disruption to EOC testing, classrooms