Local districts navigating obstacles amid virtual learning

Local school districts are looking ahead at opportunities to bring small groups of students back to school.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Plugging in and logging on is the reality for most California kids this school year. Families are forced to rely on technology that brings on inevitable issues.

"When you think about the complexity of all those people all connecting at 9 a.m. in the morning, it's surprising that the system held up," said Kurt Madden, FUSD Chief Technology Officer.

Madden says the process of getting everyone connected hasn't been perfect, but it's improving.

He says the first day of school saw an 85% attendance rate; the second day - 90%. Madden says many of the problems stem from password resets.

"Technology traditionally doesn't always work," said Madden. "So to have that level of complexity of technology and to have that many students connect, I felt like it went very well last week."

FUSD teachers will track the number of students who are specifically absent because of technology so someone from the district can reach out to troubleshoot.

"Maybe the device worked yesterday but didn't work today," said Madden. "Okay we need to make sure we know how to do it."

In Madera County, parents at Golden Valley Unified School District said they received an email around 8:20 a.m about an outage impacting the district.

Madera Unified experienced the same issue saying that it was due to a damaged fiber line impacting much of the county.

RELATED: Internet service down for several Madera County school districts, officials say

The district says it didn't pose as big of an issue Wednesday as it was a non-virtual instruction day reserved for independent learning.

On Thursday, teachers and MUSD staff have been given the option to work from home.

Meanwhile, State superintendent Tony Thurmond is optimistic about new guidelines from the Governor this week allowing for small cohorts of 14 students to a maximum of two teachers

"It creates an opportunity for any school district that feels that they need to have the ability to bring students back who have disabilities or special needs to be able to do so," said Thurmond.
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