PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Students in the School District of Philadelphia are hoping for a better day after many had a bit of a bumpy ride on day one. Issues on day one were twofold.
First, many parents were still stuck in long lines at school district headquarters waiting to get the necessary equipment needed for virtual learning. The other issue was simply using that equipment.
Many students at home had problems logging on due to a server issue. The school district worked into the night to fix that problem and now, the superintendent is apologizing.
“We’re doing our best to resolve those before we start again,” School District of Philadelphia Superintendent William Hite said. “Each day you will see these things improve.”
Hite apologized Wednesday for technical glitches on the first day of school. The district is starting the year with all students learning remotely but many couldn’t even log in because of issues with the school district’s server.
“The server issues are issues that we will be working on around the clock to resolve. That issue should improve tomorrow,” Hite said on Wednesday.
Hite says any student who could not log in will be marked as having an excused absence. So will students who were left in line with their parents Wednesday morning waiting for a school district-issued Chromebook.
“I heard it was like a two-hour line so I was scared to even come down here,” parent Dawn Leary said.
Once again, the line for equipment and technical support wrapped around school district headquarters. As well as two other sites in the city offering laptops and help.
“We’ve been stressing the fact that patience is going to be probably the biggest thing that you can have to get through this,” Philadelphia School District spokeswoman Monica Lewis said. “None of us have a playbook on how to get educated through a pandemic. A big part of this is going to be the digital support.”
The School District of Philadelphia started giving away as many as 85,000 Chromebooks in April during the height of the coronavirus shutdown. And a city initiative is now offering free internet service to families in need.
On Thursday, the district is hoping day two of this unprecedented school year goes smoother than day one.
“There’s been 130,000 students that are logging on, as you can imagine everyone doing it at the same time, so there is a volume issue in terms of our servers,” Lewis said. “So there have been some delays for people to get on. We are well aware of the situation and we are trying to fix it so we won’t have those delays in the future.”
The city also launched last week 2-1-1, a helpline for families needing help signing up for free internet service. All you have to do is dial 211 from any phone, choose option one. You’ll then be connected to a representative who will help you to sign up.
And if you still need a Chromebook or you need your equipment fixed, there are three technical support options open from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at district headquarters on North Broad Street, Fitzpatrick Elementary School in the Northeast and Martin Luther King Jr. High School in North Philly.