VALPARAISO — Valparaiso school administrators say they are confident that can provide a fix to intensifying internet disruptions that have affected the school corporation's remote learners before it adopts districtwide e-learning days later this month.
Valparaiso Community Schools Interim Superintendent Michael Berta said Wednesday evening the district has made progress in tracking the cause of the internet disruptions, which have impeded teachers' ability to livestream from their classrooms.
The district is working with technology experts and local law enforcement, as well as the FBI, to determine the cause of the internet hacking, which Berta said he has been told is criminal in nature.
"That’s frustrating for the teacher, the learner, and all of us," Berta said.
About 23% of the district's students have opted into a virtual learning program during the coronavirus pandemic, while other students are learning in person at their designated schools.
Beginning Sept. 23, the district will introduce once weekly e-learning days on Wednesday to provide more time for teacher planning and professional development during the pandemic.
Some parents took to social media to express their frustration with the increasingly frequent disruptions.
Berta sent a message to parents on Tuesday notifying them that a police report had been filed to investigate "the purposeful and malicious criminal acts."
The district leader said he had experienced similar internet disruptions in other school districts years ago, but never to this extent and not during a period of simultaneous in-person and remote instruction.
"We've not experienced anything quite like this before," Berta said. "We have professionals with expertise working with us that have raised my confidence to resolve the issue sooner rather than later."
Berta said he was made aware of one 10-minute outage Wednesday morning. He said teachers have worked to arrange lessons later in the day or in another format for students whose instruction has been affected by the disruptions.
"I understand this has been a frustrating situation for our students, parents, teachers and all of us in the school corporation," Berta said. "I'm confident we're in a good position right now to have this problem solved ... We're on it and we're working diligently to make sure this is under control."
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