Students experience technical difficulties on first day in West Ada

West Ada students experience connectivity issues
Posted at 4:51 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-09 08:29:20-04

BOISE, Idaho — A rocky start to the first day of school in the West Ada School District.

"it's been an interesting morning, to say the least," said Travis Packer, a parent in the district.

Packer says the first day started okay for both his tenth and eleventh graders, but things went downhill fast.

"Both of them were able to log on, both able to participate, but as the class went on, all of a sudden it would just drop. There was no connection. They weren't able to get back into the class, and it would not let them in," said Packer.

His kids did a quick reboot to see if that would resolve the issue.

"For one child it worked and the other child it did not," said Packer.

Technical difficulties spanned across the district—parents uniting over Twitter and Facebook to share in frustrations. The issues come as many parents are also trying to work from home simultaneously.

"I had a 2-hour video conference from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. right in the thick of them trying," said Packer, "I had no idea I was going to become an I.T. guy in our house this morning."

Some students found a workaround and could connect back to class on their cellphones and personal laptops.

"Neither of the laptops we got issued from West Ada were functional or working, so we ended up figuring out a different way to make it work," said Packer.

Some parents felt the response was great from their teachers and schools. Others think more needs to be done.

"Probably one of the bigger frustrations for us as parents, there's been some email communication and email updates but several unanswered questions," said Packer.

Idaho News 6 tried to get an answer to some of those questions. This is all West Ada School District could say so far:

We are aware that West Ada websites are not currently loading. This issue is due to a nationwide server problem with Blackboard, our web hosting provider. We are also experiencing some web filtering issues that is causing slowness in other areas as well including Teams. Our service desk is working on the issue. There is no need to call the service desk or your school at this time for this particular issue. We do not have an ETA on when this will be resolved but will continue to send out updates.
West Ada School District

On Tuesday, Central District Health announced Ada County schools, including West Ada, were in the 'yellow phase', which means in-person instruction has the partial green light. Packer says patience is key with the unknowns surrounding remote learning and moving into a hybrid model soon.

"Try to be positive, try to make this a real-life learning experience and hope that we get into schools as quickly as possible," said Packer. "Having them in school will be a much better learning environment than trying to finagle all of [the] connectivity issues we were having today."

According to parents, things went better in the afternoon after the initial morning log on. Idaho News 6 will continue watching how the rest of the week shapes up for the district.