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Forsyth County students’ online lesson plans crash two days in a row

The school system says the company hired to provide the online platform did not have enough server capacity to meet demand.

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — UPDATE Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Forsyth County School District reports the on-line system has been running smoothly for students since the company that provides the system fixed its capacity limitations that caused the initial glitches on Monday and Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Tens of thousands of students and their parents in one of Georgia’s largest school systems, Forsyth County, were unable to log on to their online learning lessons from home at times during the first two days of their at-home classes.

The school district said  the system crashed because too many students tried to log-on at once.

On Monday and Tuesday, everybody was at their computers at home, including 12-year-old Addison Gibbs, ready to study in their new, home-based, remote classrooms, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic shutting down schools worldwide.

Everybody was ready to go, except the company providing the platform for the online lessons--it did not show up for class.

“It was a mess,” said Addison’s mother, Cortney Gibbs, Tuesday evening. “It crashed. We couldn’t log on.”

The Forsyth County Schools System tweeted late Tuesday morning, “We are frustrated, too."

The school system said the company that runs the online system has “engineers working around the clock to resolve the capacity issues.”

The company, “itslearning," based in Norway, is under contract with schools that have closed around the world as a result of the coronavirus.

Virtual Strategies Magazine reports that itslearning acknowledges that, beginning on Monday, it was unable to keep up with 10,000 new log-ins every 10 minutes, but that the company is increasing capacity as fast as possible.

Addison doesn’t understand any of that. His mother said he has learning disabilities, and he was excited to start the online classes from home. But, his mom said he is crushed that the system has been crashing.And she is crushed that she doesn’t know how to help him.

“It’s very frustrating,” Cortney said, “because you want your child to succeed but you feel like, well, I’m not a teacher so I’m hoping that I’m doing the right thing.”

She said at one point, she told Addison and his 7-year-old brother, Ayden, who was also unable to access his online lessons part of that time, “to get a book and read, ‘cause there was nothing we could really do.' It’s really frustrating because we don’t know what do to, we’re just doing our best with what the teachers have given us and what the websites are providing.”

And she praised the children’s teachers for being responsive and trying to help, remotely. It’s the company providing the online system that she faults.

“I mean, it’s our children’s education. And we don’t know when we’re going back to school. Possibly in April? Who knows? I just hope there’s no regression, I hope they don’t lose what they’ve learned.”

Cortney says she can only hope that when Addison tries to log on again from now on, the company that’s running the online lesson platform will finally show up for class.


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