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Tech trouble hampers first day of distance learning for some school districts

Connectivity issues kept some students unable to access online classes.

Some Minnesota school districts reported connectivity issues and other tech trouble on Monday, as schools shifted to distance and e-learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

Parents in Edina received notices from the district on Monday morning, reporting access issues affecting two vendors that the district is using for its distance learning program, leaving students unable to connect. The notices asked for patience, and noted that other districts were reporting similar problems. 

The district reported the issues were mostly improved by the noon hour on Monday.

Osseo schools reported similar connectivity issues on Monday morning.

Melissa Cooklock in Brooklyn Park says her daughter couldn't get into Schoology.

"Not even being able to log in," said Cooklock. "i don't want her to fall behind and miss things."

Jill Voerste in Zimmerman has four kids who couldn't access their virtual services.

"How am i supposed to submit everything if we can't log in," said Voerste.

E-learning provider Schoology was tracking performance issues involving its website on Monday morning.

Another distance learning vendor used by many districts, Seesaw, posted a notice on its Twitter account about the issues on Monday morning, followed by a report that the problems were fixed about an hour later.

In a statement to KARE 11, a spokeperson said their company has seen a huge spike in traffic, and has worked to shore up its servers.

"Seesaw had an outage for about an hour this morning. Over the past two weeks, traffic to Seesaw has increased over 600%," the statement read. "We've worked hard to ensure that our systems remain stable through this sudden increase in usage. However, this morning we had even more usage than we anticipated and hit a new limit related to the maximum number of servers we can run at once. We have now resolved this issue and do not anticipate it reoccurring."

Governor Tim Walz authorized a distance learning period from March 30 through at least May 4, with the Commissioner of Education given authority to extend the end date. Schools in Minnesota were previously closed from March 18-27 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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A local organization, Minnesota Computers for Schools, is providing computers to under-served students to make sure they don’t fall behind during the COVID-19 school closures.

KARE 11 has created a “Give 11” campaign to raise funds for this organization.

We’ve donated $10,000 to kick this off and you can help too by going to KARE11.com/Give11Tech.

RELATED: Give 11: Support student distance learning

KARE 11’s coverage of the coronavirus is rooted in Facts, not Fear. Visit kare11.com/coronavirus for comprehensive coverage, find out what you need to know about the Midwest specifically, learn more about the symptoms, and keep tabs on the cases around the world here. Have a question? Text it to us at 763-797-7215. And get the latest coronavirus updates sent right to your inbox every morning. Subscribe to the KARE 11 Sunrise newsletter here. Help local families in need: www.kare11.com/give11

The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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