The first day of virtual school in North Carolina started with a statewide system crash.

Virtual school is, of course, supposed to start, not with announcements over the loudspeaker or homeroom, or the teacher taking roll or any of those normal school activities. It starts virtually, which means students and teachers are logging on to computers. But in North Carolina, the first day of school was interrupted, not by a fire drill, but because the virtual system for North Carolina public schools crashed preventing students and teachers from logging on.

The announcement on the Guilford County Schools website at noon, Monday, August 17 was:

“Important Message”

“Access to the Canvass learning platform is unavailable across the state right now. We apologize for the inconvenience. We will let you know when the state has the system back up and running. Thank you for your patience.”

The News & Observer in Raleigh reported at 10:19 a.m. that according to the State Department of Public Instruction the system was back up and running Monday morning after being down shortly.

Perhaps no one told Guilford County Schools that the system was back up and running or perhaps bad information was given to the News & Observer.

The Guilford County Board of Education voted to go virtual the first nine weeks of school this year with no in-person instruction before Sept. 11. With the system down to teach virtually, instruction couldn’t begin.

The NCEdCloud system used for accessing Canvass crashed so that students couldn’t log in. The problem, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, was with NCEdCloud and not the underlying programs and NCEdCloud caused the entire system to crash statewide regardless of the program being used.

And with the system down, students and teachers can hardly be expected to sit at their computers all day staring at the screen waiting for the system to come back up.