The Davis school district operated without a website, email, student data systems and other electronic services for much of Monday, due to the weekend failure of a rooftop air conditioning system.
The system cools the portion of the school district’s administrative building that houses its main servers and related communications and electronic gear.
The situation was quite challenging, since the district relies on its electronic systems to do everything from teachers taking attendance at the beginning of class to counselors looking up a student’s academic records.
The district relies extensively on email and related systems for communication between teachers and parents, school board trustees and administrators, schools and the central kitchen where student meals are prepared, and so on.
“We had no email, no Internet services, none of the shared internal drives used by teachers and staff. We can’t get onto any of our web-based programs like School Loop, the company which hosts the main district website and the individual school websites,” said Kim Wallace, the district’s director of instructional technology. ”All of our communication tools and management tools were down, other than the telephones.”
Wallace said she became aware of the problem about 8 p.m. Sunday, when Associate Superintendent Clark Bryant texted her to say he couldn’t access his district email. Wallace then texted Bob Kehr, another member of the district’s tech staff, who arrived at the district office at about 10 p.m. Sunday to find that the air-conditioner cooling the main computer room had failed.
The temperature inside that room had reached 120 degrees F.
“Bob opened up the room and brought in a fan, and shut down all the servers so we wouldn’t have a meltdown,” Wallace said.
The school district’s maintenance and operations staff was on the roof of the office at 526 B St. bright and early Monday morning, and the faulty air conditioner was back in operation by about 11:15 a.m. Once the computer room temperature was brought down to about 70 F, technology staff began starting servers one by one and assessing their condition.
By mid-afternoon, email service had been restored to some users, including Superintendent Winfred Roberson, and the school district’s website was restored to service.
But there were still various glitches being untangled late into the day, and it may take several days to complete that process, since some files on certain servers may have been corrupted when the equipment overheated.
— Reach Jeff Hudson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8055. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffHudsonDE