Internet, phone lines open at WCS after outage

Phone lines and Internet are back up and running at Wapakoneta City Schools after a power source malfunctioned Wednesday night, leaving the district without access until 9:45 a.m. Friday. 

The lack of Internet and phone access reached all four of the district's school buildings, as well as the district board office. 

Wapakoneta City Schools Superintendent Keith Horner said the piece of equipment that went out had to be shipped overnight from Chicago, which delayed the district's ability to fix the problem. 

"We've had outages before, but not for this extended period of time," Horner said. "The issue was that the closest place we could find the piece of equipment was Chicago, so it had to be shipped overnight. This meant we weren't able to get it until this morning."

The district went all of Thursday without Internet and phone access, causing teachers to adjust their lesson plans. 

Horner said the outages had minimal effect on the curriculum, and there wouldn't be any long-term consequences.

"Our teachers are resourceful enough to either teach concepts they already planned without use of technology, or go back and review important materials as well," Horner said. "At least we were in school with our teachers in front of kids."

Horner said the outage opened his eyes to how dependent the schools are on technology, and that  he will address this issue with various administrators to determine how to properly handle this situation if it arises again.

"If I had to look back in hindsight and be a little critical, we need to have some ability for people to communicate if this happens again, even if it's just a one-number contact," he said. 

School safety and the district's overall ability to function are what Horner said are most critical when discussing this problem. 

Horner said that, as far as he knows, there were no students who were unaccounted for yesterday due to the lack of communication ability. 

The Telephone Service Company (TSC), a phone and Internet provider based in Wapakoneta, was instrumental in helping solve the problem, Horner said.

"They provided us with manpower and expertise on the power source and they were instrumental in helping us fix it," he said.