RCSD: Nationwide outage impacts remote learning

Patrick Moussignac
Updated: November 16, 2020 05:49 PM
Created: November 16, 2020 10:10 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Online remote learning took another hit Monday after a nationwide outage locked both teachers, and students out of their learning platforms. Those affected were mostly in the Rochester City School District as well as a few neighboring communities.  

News10NBC did receive some good news. According to RCSD, the problem was fixed just before 1 p.m., and things are expected to be normal for classes Tuesday morning. Monday morning was a different story.


When Clara Washington first tried to log on to Google Classroom for her daughter Jayla Morrison's classes online, she found that couldn't get in. Washington said she then received this text from Jayla's teacher.

It said, "Hi Clara, Reconnect is not working this morning, and we are unable to start Zoom right now. It's a district-wide problem. I'll let you know if I can get in."

RCSD Chief Technology Officer Glen VanDerwater says the outage was caused by a break in communication between Amazon Web Services, and Classlink. Students, and teachers from K-12 both use Classlink which is a single sign-on provider for the school system. 

"When students log into their Chromebook their landing page is "ROC Connect," and in that page are all the instructional applications students have access to," VanDerwater said.

Besides RCSD, other districts including Pittsford, Honeoye Falls-Lima, Victor and Greece were also affected.

Jayla is a 5th grader at School Number 28. She has autism and is partially non-verbal. She relies on the same daily routine. Washington says about 25 minutes later she was able to get into the system.

"I wouldn't say it was like a huge inconvenience, but she did miss some of her session. They had to cut a session short so she could get back on schedule," Washington said. 

To keep everyone on schedule teachers were given directions to switch all their students to asynchronous learning.

"For example getting into Google Classroom simply by going into, and using your log-in credentials for teachers, and students so that they can participate in asynchronous learning," VanDerwater said.

A technological glitch bringing down an entire online learning system.

"Well it's unexpected right, and in this remote learning there's bumps in the road, and we have to work quickly to resolve them," VanDerwater said.

Pre-k students were not affected since they use a different sign-on system.

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