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UPSD Administrators Mum on Network Outage
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2024-03-20

            One week after a network outage in the Upper Perkiomen School District, the return to normal has been gradual.

            On Wednesday morning, the district's phone system was able to receive outside calls and record voice messages. Administrators released phone numbers for each of the five schools. However, the district's servers remain inactive, according to a message posted on ParentSquare.

            By Tuesday morning, the district's classroom technology was restored. According to a message on the system, all teachers have received active Chromebooks.

            Additionally, students from kindergarten to eighth grade will soon receive a Clever Badge, a QR code allowing students to easily sign in to their Google accounts. Administrators are working to create similar badges, which will be attached to the student's identification cards, for high school students.

            Superintendent Allyn Roche addressed the issue at last week's school board meeting. He described the district's technical difficulties as the "elephant in the room" during the March 14 school board meeting. He said an issue discovered two days earlier disrupted its computer system.
            Board President Melanie Cunningham thanked the district's entire staff, including its IT and payroll departments, for being resilient and flexible. She said everyone got paid on schedule.
            "Pens and paper are a good thing," Cunningham said during the meeting.

            Administrators aren't disclosing many additional details about the disruption. Earlier this week, two school board members and the superintendent declined to answer a series of questions regarding the nature of the incident, the possible exposure of any personal information and the potential financial cost to the district.

            Roche did not respond to a text message sent late Tuesday afternoon. Cunningham and J. P. Prego, who chairs the district's facilities committee, received the questions Monday. Prego wrote in a text message that he could not offer anything more on the situation beyond Roche's statement.

            Both school board members deferred all questions to spokesperson Alexis Jenofsky. On Wednesday morning, she sent a text message declining to address the issue.

            "At this time, the district has no further comment," Jenofsky wrote in the message received at 9:37 a.m.

            According to the Tuesday post on ParentSquare, the district's telephone system was partially functioning. On Monday, administrators announced the restoration of the cafeteria's point of sale system and copiers/printers at the buildings. It stated that the district continues to actively collaborate with a third-party IT specialist to investigate the source of this disruption, confirm its impact on systems and restore full functionality as soon as possible.

            Class without access to the internet has been a challenge, according to a handful of high school students. One senior described it as a "big change."

             The necessity to use paper and a pen or pencil to complete school work has made the work more difficult because it takes longer to complete, according to a high school sophomore, who relies on a computer for every class but social studies.

            "The outage is something we never expected to happen and is going to be a struggle with certain classes," according to another senior. "The first couple days there was not much we did in classes as the faculty was still trying to solve the problem."

            Most classes were taking walks or playing board games for the first couple of days after the outage, according to a third senior, who explained that the "struggle for teachers was not being able to print papers or packets…which is why they did not know what to do with the students."

             However, most teachers have found their way around the issue to still give out work, according to a high school junior.

            A fourth senior claims that the teachers decided to revert to old methods of instruction.

            "After a couple days, teachers decided to mostly start classes the old school way by hand writing all our work and teaching lectures," the senior wrote. "In my opinion, this is kind of a good thing as we students need to keep ourselves engaged and off technology forcing ourselves to take in what the teachers are saying with no distractions."


 

 

 

 

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