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Internet outage causes huge problems for schools as they try to finish RISE testing

(Photo Credit: Paul Nelson)

DRAPER – What else could go wrong?

The Canyons School District has had to cancel two more days of RISE exams, this time because of an internet outage that brought their operations to a standstill.

While crews were working on a construction project in Draper, someone damaged internet fiber and that took down the web for Jordan, Murray and Canyons school districts.  The internet has been restored, but educators say Canyons School District was “clobbered” the worst out of all three of them.

Not only did the outage take down their internet, it also knocked out their phone lines.

District Spokesman Jeff Haney says, “We couldn’t answer any phone calls from patrons.  We couldn’t access our student data software.”

Educators are now dealing with a backlog of emails and phone messages that they weren’t able to get to.

Schools in the district had to push back their RISE testing by two more days, which comes on top of the delays they already had due to server issues from the test’s creators.  Haney says they designed their testing schedule to handle “bumps in the road,” but they’re really cutting it close to the end of the school year, now.

“We feel like we can do it in the time we have left, but there is very little give left in the schedule,” he says, adding, “It will be tight, and we can’t have any more high-tech hiccups.”

The Utah Board of Education has announced they will not penalize schools that are not able to finish RISE exam by the end of the year, as long as they inform the state board that they couldn’t complete them because of the delays.  Last week, Haney says they didn’t need to do that.  However, that changed because of today’s outage.

He says, “We reached out to the state and let them know that we were facing this technical difficulty and they’ve been really great to work with us.”