The Newburgh Enlarged City School District officially started its academic year on Tuesday, September 8 in a remote setting. Students and teachers experienced technical difficulties on the first day of school.
The district posted on its Facebook page at 9:34 a.m. on Tuesday morning that there was an internet outage. It read, “Due to systems in the northeast experiencing high volume as school districts throughout the area return to virtual learning this morning, scholars and educators may experience delays logging into their device and/or the Launchpad.”
The outage was originally reported at 8:55 a.m., according to Cassie Sklarz, Communications Strategist for Newburgh Enlarged City School District.
Over 200 people commented on the post with their concerns and comments. Parents and guardians asked if students would be penalized and if it would affect attendance.
At 8:12 p.m. on the same day, they posted that the issue had been resolved.
The technical issue was from the Classlink, a platform that enables single sign-on access to a variety of other applications and files.
“This resulted in some students, who had logged on prior to that time [8:55 a.m.] or who had been logged in from the previous day, being able to access their classes while those who logged in later than that timeframe to not be able to access the system,” explained Sklarz.
The post stated that the “interruption was the result of issues experienced by Classlink nationwide.”
“The Classlink outage also affected other densely populated cities regionally and nationally as many districts returned to virtual learning this week,” said Sklarz.
However, problems with Classlink have persisted into the end of the week. On Friday, September 11 there were more reports of students facing difficulties logging on in the morning.
“We are in contact with Classlink and are working to fix this situation as quickly as possible,” the District replied to a comment on Facebook.
They were able to resolve the issue within an hour on Friday.
“Our faculty and staff have gone through more than 1,000 hours of professional development to hone their skills and expertise specifically for virtual learning,” said Sklarz. “Once these issues are resolved, we know our faculty and staff are prepared to provide a quality education to all of our scholars through our virtual applications.”
The district also posted steps on how to access Google Classroom on the Chromebooks for those who cannot access Classlink.
Despite technical difficulties, Sklarz reported that Superintendent Padilla conducted a Town Hall for scholars, where 85 percent in attendance reported having a great or good experience for their first day.
Parent of two Temple Hill students (5th grade and kindergarten), Aisha Talley, has also reported an overall positive experience.
“Having some idea of how remote learning would go from last year, we made every effort to be ready,” said Talley. “We set each child up with their own work space and decorated it. We went over routines before the first day of school.”
Talley credited her children’s success during the week to logging into the platforms beforehand, ensuring a good night’s sleep and checking in throughout the day.
“My advice is for everyone to try their best and don’t get overwhelmed if you don’t understand something or if you can’t get something to work,” said Talley. “Reach out to your child’s teacher or the tech support staff and just be patient.”
Additionally, she suggested that parents and guardians practice the programs with their kids to have a better understanding if any technical difficulties do happen again.
Robin Janel, parent of a fourth grader at New Windsor Elementary and a tenth grader at Newburgh Free Academy, explained her frustration regarding learning things like how to split the screen for her youngest.
“Her teacher is wonderful and patient though,” said Janel. “We all need to have patience. Teachers are human too. They didn’t want to teach this way. It’s a huge change for everyone.”
Make sure to visit newburghschools.org for resources and contact information regarding remote learning for the month of September.