OLATHE, Kan. — It was a less than packed parking lot Tuesday at Olathe Northwest High School as students across the district started this year learning remotely. But the day didn’t go as planned.
“I think it called it a nightmare,” Olathe parent Rebeca Highfill said.
Highfill said her students weren’t able to log into the secured site “StudentVUE” for class, causing panic on an already unusual first day.
“She was just, you know, ‘Hurry, hurry, I’m missing it. I’m not going to know what’s happening,'” Highfill said.
“I think that kind of panic on the first day of school, rather than the excitement and smiles, I think all of those things add to a great deal of anxiety,” the metro mom said.
Highfill wasn’t the only one to have issues with her child’s login. She got a call from a neighbor who was at work, asking if she would run to calm her student down, who was home alone, almost in tears.
In a statement to parents, school district administrators said that the system had been tested numerous times but that an increase in login attempts caused strain on the system.
“Our system was designed to handle our entire student population of more than 30,000 users; however, we had over 160,000 attempts this morning. It would help tremendously if students are only logged on from one device and parents are not logged in at the same time. This will ease the strain on the system.
“In the way of background, we initially tripled the amount of technology resources recommended by the parent company of StudentVUE for a district our size. This morning, with an influx of users on the system, it slowed down StudentVUE and made it challenging for students to log on.
“By 10 a.m., we had the majority of our remote students, approximately half of our 30,000 student population successfully logged into the system, but that doesn’t excuse the challenges of the morning.”
The statement goes on to say that adjustments were made to help the system run properly going forward.
If issues arise in the future, teachers will set up a backup Zoom link for each class that can be emailed to keep the day running smoothly.
“It is absolutely the fault of the board and the district,” Highfill said.
Other school districts like Shawnee Mission and KCK reported no tech issues Tuesday.
As a military family, Highfill said they’re accustomed to change, but this was supposed to be their last move and last school district.
Now, they’re thinking differently.
“We promised the kids that this was it, that no more new schools, and this promise we can’t keep,” Highfill said.