MOBILE, Ala (WALA) – It is a new month, and starting on Tuesday it was also a new school year for students in Alabama’s largest school system. However, COVID-19 is making a major change to how kids are learning this year.
This school year is definitely different as kids are starting class from home, while teachers teach from empty classrooms.
“I think it was a success,” said Rena Philips with the Mobile County Public School system. “We did have a few challenges. Any time you’re dealing with technology and internet and getting on devices you’re going to have some of those.”
The school system said they did not have any technology issues on their end.
For months, they have spent time and money upgrading and getting ready for 54,000 students and some 7,000 employees to be online at the same time.
“We’re running one of the fastest, if not the fastest network in the state, probably one of the fastest in the southeast,” said David Akridge, Executive IT Manager at the Mobile County Public School system.
An IT team is watching the network and different monitors from an operations center at the school system headquarters. If an issue pops up they can fix it quickly.
“We’re able to handle more bandwidth now and we had 50-60 percent utilization today in a norm and then we had spikes that brought us up around 80 percent,” Akridge said.
In an effort make sure students have access to internet, the school system has put 20 school buses in different areas where students can access WIFI. About 24 gigs were used on Tuesday between all the buses.
“We’re about learning and that’s what we’re doing,” Philips said. “This is a new thing for all of us and I’ve been so proud of what we’ve been able to do. Yes, there are some kinks, but we’re going to work through it, patience and flexibility.”
The school system said they did get calls about issues popping up on Tuesday. They said the issues were not relating to their technology.
If you need technical help, MCPSS says to call your child’s school first. They will be the first line of communication to get an issue fixed. From 3-8PM the school system says to call (251) 221-7777 for assistance.