First day of school for Seattle Public Schools starting off with some technological hiccups

The first day of school for the largest school district in Washington started off with some technological problems.

The vast majority of the more than 50 thousand students in Seattle Public Schools were able to log on but some were shut out.

On Friday, the silence outside Seattle schools was eery.

There were no school busses dropping kids off and no children greeting each other with hugs.

Instead the noise of the classroom now playing out in many homes.

Q13 News talked to one Seattle family after a hectic first day.

Ezra got up Friday morning and did all the things he would normally do for the first day, except, instead of walking to Magnolia Elementary he took several steps into the dining room.

“School from the dining room is a very different situation,” Coles said.

Coles and her husband work full time.

The mother of two is starting the mornings around 5:45 a.m. so she can squeeze in some work before Ezra has to be ready for school.

“We got connected to the internet and then we totally couldn’t even get into the computer,” Coles said.

Ezra is one of the students who couldn’t connect to his class using his school-issued laptop.

Ezra eventually got through after they stopped using the school's laptop and moved to a personal computer.

“We finally made it to the meeting and I was really impressed with his teacher because we are trying to email her and she is trying to conduct a class online and 6 of us who can’t get in,” Coles said.

Despite the confusion, the mother of two says they are going to get through the glitches with grace.

“It’s the first time the district is trying it, it’s totally bonkers, there is so much user error but I was impressed with the teacher’s ability to roll with all the uncertainties and distractions,” Coles said.

Seattle Public Schools says it was a bandwidth issue with so many trying to log on at the same time.

In a letter to parents, Superintendent Denise Juneau compared the new system to the highway saying before it was 6,000 on the road and now there are 63,000.

“There are some areas in town that didn’t have any problems and other areas that did, our department of technological services certainly working on all of it and we expect everything will be great next week," Spokesperson Tim Robinson said.

Even without technical problems, working parents are asking how they are going to manage it all.

“I had a very important phone call today and I was still trying to get my son online and then he was having technical problems, I am trying to have this really meaningful discussion with somebody at work, it’s so stressful to try to be great in all those roles," Coles said.

It’s a new life that will take some time getting used to.

"I get interrupted every 15 minutes and I don't know if I've had a zoom meeting my 4-year-old hasn't been apart of," Coles said.

SPS is starting off the year with what they are calling ‘Strong Start’ when teachers and students can focus on relationships and connecting with one another. They say the week will also give SPS time to work on any issues like they had on the first day. The full academic schedule kicks off for students on September 14.

Some parents have voiced concerns over the fact that SPS is using Microsoft Teams instead of Zoom saying it is more difficult and less user friendly. 

Robinson says the reason for that is due to cybersecurity and SPS believes Teams is more secure than Zoom.