DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Rob Shearer’s three daughters, in 3rd and 1st grades, and pre-K, spent their first day of school — at home.
He said, “They were they were excited to see their friends virtually and start learning.”
They’re a few of the 157,000 Dallas ISD students starting the year off virtually.
When one couldn’t get onto Zoom, they called the district only to hear a recording telling parents the district was experiencing technical difficulties.
Shearer said, “So we ended up contacting them via the apps that the teachers use to communicate with and that provided a great workaround.”
During a news conference late Tuesday afternoon, Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said one of the technology-related issues centered around the district changing Zoom passwords to protect teachers and students.
“The mistake we made was pushing out the how to change your password too late, so we had a flood of phone calls. We said call if you have problems, and they did, so they brought down the system,” he said.
Hinojosa said the district will release a tutorial on how to change the password on their website Wednesday, and that phone glitches may continue because of the large volume of calls.
He said the district also had problems distributing devices to some students.
Some new sixth grade students didn’t receive have devices for their first day because the district forgot they didn’t receive them in fifth grade. “We had a few issues of not getting them their devices so that was a big part and something we should not have overlooked.”
He said 90%of the devices have been distributed, but that it could take some time to give out the rest because there’s no more technology in the main warehouses.
The district will have to transfer devices from school to school.
Hinojosa visited Eddie Bernice Johnson Elementary School Tuesday morning to kick-off the year.
Most students can return to in-class instruction October 5th, but students changing schools, such as those entering kindergarten, middle, and high schools for the first time, can return September 28.
Shearer welcomes that.
“We are really looking forward to getting back to face to face hopefully sometime this fall,” he said.
But he said safety is the priority.
The Superintendent urged parents to return their surveys so they can get an accurate count of how many students will be returning to campuses for in-person instruction and how many will stay virtual.