Virginia Beach families, superintendent talk experiences, tech issues on first day of school

Posted at 8:59 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 22:11:49-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Tuesday marked the start of a new school year for Robert Hamm’s sons in Virginia Beach.

“They were excited about being back at school and seeing their friends,” Hamm said. “There was a sense of normalcy that came from it."

Students and teachers across the district started virtually this year.

“It's just exciting and good to have our kids back with us,” Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) Superintendent Dr. Aaron Spence said.

But for Hamm, the new year came with challenges. He said his family had trouble with Zoom and other apps.

“These are growing pains that we are all going through,” he said. “The reality is the troubles that the school did have were overcome by the end of the day.”

The same went for Crystal Painter, as her daughter started high school.

“There was definitely some glitches on all the apps that she had to use, and everything was slow, and it kept cutting in and out,” Painter said. “I think they're doing the best they can, and hopefully things get better.”

Tuesday morning, the district reported an outage involving an internet filtering service impacting internet connection in schools and district buildings.

“The issue was with the internet filtering, and the ability of our students to access content through the internet filtering, because they had an outage that impacted them up and down the east coast,” Spence said.

Spence told News 3 the issue was resolved in less than an hour.

From classrooms he visited on the first day, he said things have been going pretty well.

“We knew they were going to be here on September 8, and we knew that we needed to be ready for that,” he said. “I think our teachers are doing a remarkable job.”

He said they'll work through any challenges with parents.

Related: Tips on how to deal with technology failing during virtual school year

“There will be things that need to get ironed out,” he said. “Patience, flexibility and grace matter here. If you all will just continue to work with us, we will continue to work with you, and together, our community will provide our kids with an excellent learning experience.”

Spence encourages families with any questions to contact their teacher or school’s principal.

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