Expert: Navigating virtual instruction will take trial and error

Expert: Navigating virtual instruction will take trial and error

PETERSBURG, Va. (WWBT) - It was a rough return to learning Tuesday as parents and students in two school districts were met with technical roadblocks on the very first day. Central Virginia school districts are promising they’re getting a handle on things.

Chesterfield and Petersburg school officials confirmed their servers and bandwidth just weren’t ready. Now, they’re gearing up for day two on Wednesday, and a local expert guarantees this will be a matter of trial and error.

“It pretty much sucked from start to finish,” a Chesterfield teacher wrote on Facebook.

“Not a perfect day but thank you teachers...it will get better,” someone else chimed in.

Chesterfield says it had to increase its server capacity due to so many people logging on, but the issues weren’t just there.

“We know that there were some challenges today with logging on and having the appropriate credentials,” Petersburg Superintendent Dr. Maria Pitre-Martine said in a video following the first day.

Petersburg Schools says it is bringing on extra staff Wednesday to man a help desk for parents as issues arise.

“There was no way to be prepared for 60, 70, 80 thousand people trying to access the network. They couldn’t practice that. They didn’t have everyone on there before,” said Will Spencer, and expert with 15 years of experience working in information technology. NBC12 asked him to breakdown the issue area schools were facing. “It’s almost like a fort that basically has a door to it and everyone started rushing through this small door; and they had to work with their service providers to make that door bigger.”

Spencer warns there could be even more challenges schools face in navigating a new normal.

“That was the first step of getting them online. The next step is actually getting them to teleconference and have video conferencing and not have any hiccups.”

He believes it can all work out but it will take time and patience.

“We will be giving our students a grace period regarding attendance today but we want to ensure that all of our students are online tomorrow and eager to learn,” Pitre-Martin continued.

Petersburg Schools are asking parents to make sure the district has their updated email and phone number so that officials can contact them as they work out the kinks.

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