Internet issue fixed, classes back online for Madera County students

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- At LaVina Elementary School it was business as usual Thursday. All but two teachers were live in their classrooms doing distance learning.

A damaged AT&T line in northern Madera County prompted the internet outage Wednesday morning. It halted face-to-face interaction between teachers and students in areas like Chowchilla, Coarsegold, Yosemite, and Madera.

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

Fortunately for Madera Unified students, the day was set aside for one-on-one instruction, intervention, and asynchronous learning activities, not distance learning classes.

But the outage caused administrators to scramble to notify teachers, parents, and students. Since teachers work from their classrooms Wednesday, they were not able to interact with students virtually.

"Luckily, the impact was to schools. It wasn't actually residential internet outage, it was more school internet outage so Madera Unified and other school districts were impacted by this," says Babatunde Ilori, a Madera Unified spokesperson.

The technology issue was one many local districts have faced over the past week. Some experienced internet slowdowns or app issues due to the large volume of students logging on at once.

Madera County leaders say the return to school in a whole new way is a work in progress.

"This is something that I think everyone is going to have to be aware of as we go into the future," says Madera County CAO Jay Varney.

Madera County officials say fiber optic lines come through different channels. So, for example, when lines fail in the southern end of the county, Chowchilla can step in and help since they operate on another system, and vice versa.

Madera Unified officials say the past few weeks communication has been key along with patience.

By Thursday morning, the line was fixed and distance learning went on as planned.

County leaders expect internet providers to expand their bandwidth services gradually if the demand continues and the pandemic is extended.
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