LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The first day of school for CCSD turned into a day of anxiety and frustration. Parents looking for answers after a remote learning app crashed this morning causing many students to be locked out of their virtual classrooms.
Yolanda Washington thought she had it all figured out as she prepared her five children getting ready for the first day of school.
“All we had to do was get up this morning, go in and get logged on,” she said.
Instead, she was met with a screen saying they couldn’t access Canvas, the remote learning app CCSD is using for distance learning.
“We could not log on. It kept loading for a while,” Washington said.
Other parents shared the same frustration. Washington says it took about two hours just to get two kids into their virtual classes. As a working parent, she’s worried about how her kids would be able to learn.
“If I don’t get this today. I have to work tomorrow and when I go to work, I can’t hold my 16-year-old accountable to try to make all of this happen,” she said.
CCSD says the crash was a nationwide issue. The website Down Detector shows the reports of issues with Canvas in a few spots around the country. The district says it was aware of the issue at around 7:20 Monday morning and had it resolved at around 10-30 a.m.
“I like to commend the team for working swiftly to make sure that our teachers were connected so thank you for your dedication and support,” CCSD Superintendent Jesus Jara said.
Instructure, the company that makes the Canvas app in a statement says it notified CCSD and apologized saying in part:
“Canvas is currently seeing significantly higher usage rates than usual from schools coming back online this week across the country. We've seen a 70% increase in concurrent users since spring. We are sorry for any challenges Canvas has caused.”
Washington says she understands the nationwide crash but feels CCSD could have been more prepared for situations like this.
“They had more than enough time. You thought about the teachers, you thought about getting back to school, but you didn’t think about the people that are in poverty like myself,” she said.
“I couldn’t log in to Canvas at all and it gave me an error message and my families were already messaging me.”
Vicki Kreidel is a second-grade teacher at Heard Elementary School. She says the remote learning app Canvas had issues the weekend before the first day of school like lesson plans being erased.
“Good thing that Canvas started having issues over the weekend, so that gave some of us a heads up that we needed to be ready,” she said.
Kreidel wound up having a Plan B, using Google Classroom to set up her class.
By communicating with parents, she was able to secure 100 percent attendance for her morning block.
“We can’t depend on a lot of things, but we can depend on ourselves and our ability,” she said.
Kreidel says she understands the high usage rates and says patience is needed to navigate the glitches. She does feel CCSD could have stuck with a proven platform.
“The district should have allowed elementary schools to continue using Google Classroom which was something we were already using and familiar with and it would lower the amount of traffic on the Canvas website.”
For now, she urges parents to keep in touch with their teachers if they have issues.
“I would have the parent reach out to the teacher and say what’s your Plan B? If I can’t get into Canvas, then what do I do? I’d like to know that ahead of time,” Kreidel said.