Network outage affects entire school

Chemistry teacher David Van Muyden logs his students’ grades online using School Loop.
Chemistry teacher David Van Muyden logs his students’ grades online using School Loop.

By Elissa Koh, Staff–

Davis High experienced a network outage for four school days last month, from Oct. 20-23. The outage was caused by a failure in a component of the core networks switch that served the entire DHS campus, affecting access to the Internet.

Some teachers were forced to change or find other teaching methods for their lesson plans while the school district’s Institutional Technology Services department was put to work to resolve the problem.

“We are disappointed whenever technology fails us and instruction or staff work is impacted. We, as a department, take this incredibly seriously, and understand that student learning is all of our first priority,” said Marcia Bernard, Director of Instructional Technology & Learning.

Bob Kehr, the ITS manager of technical support, and 25-30 other network engineers engaged in troubleshooting in order to resolve the issue.

Based on their Technical Assistance Center engineering assessment, Cisco, one of the largest manufacturers for networking equipment, identified the replacement part that was needed on Oct. 15. However, Cisco could not deliver the part before Monday, Oct. 19, which would extend the outage into a second week.

In order to quicken the delivery of the warranty part, the district located a temporary replacement network switch in Sacramento that could be brought to DHS through a short-term lease agreement. The temporary replacement switch was installed on Saturday, Oct. 17, restoring network and Internet access.

Cisco’s replacement part arrived on Oct. 19 and its installation began on Oct. 21. Although a couple of issues came up during the installation, they were all resolved.

“The troubleshooting process that led to resolution was very demanding, and had top-level network engineers from many different countries and time zones scratching their heads and saying, ‘I have never seen this before,’” Kehr said.

During this time frame, DHS students and staff members were required to adapt to the situation.

Chemistry teacher David Van Muyden was able to quickly adjust to the outage, although he had to take attendance on a piece of paper and wasn’t able to print any documents because his printers were wireless.

“I feel like I would like to research things a little bit more when I have questions, but mostly I’m used to teaching before we had the Internet so it hasn’t affected me that much,” Van Muyden said.

On the other hand, sophomore Sam Amezcua was significantly affected by the outage in his computer programming class.

“We literally did nothing last week. I just watched TV on my phone using the AT&T Internet for four days during computer programming,” Amezcua said.

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