09/05/13 — Schools have phone issues

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Schools have phone issues

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 5, 2013 1:46 PM

Incoming telephone calls to several Wayne County schools have been disrupted since Tuesday afternoon, when issues arose with a service provider after activating new equipment, officials said today.

The majority of schools were affected by the interruption, said David Lewis, executive director of information, technology services and athletics.

"Ever since the summertime we have been in the process of transferring to a new data center," he said, explaining that part of the equipment was purchased by the district and some was provided by the state.

Almost two weeks ago, the last of the equipment was installed, just in time for the start of the school year. Lewis said tests were run on the new system and everything appeared to be fine and in good working order. The district even has a "back-up plan" in place for such a possibility.

"AT&T came in and installed their equipment Tuesday of this week, and when they flipped the switch, activated their new equipment, something happened that affected incoming calls, temporarily losing service," Lewis said. "I would say from Tuesday afternoon until sometime Wednesday morning, most of our schools were experiencing some problems."

The issue was not caused by the district's equipment, Lewis pointed out, but rather the state's service provider. And it was limited to calls received from outside the schools, he said.

"Our schools have never lost the ability to make outgoing calls," he said. "We have also had no disruptions in the connectivity between our schools, between central office."

Instead, anyone attempting to reach one of the schools involved Tuesday and Wednesday was likely to receive a recording either advising them that there was an issue or to attempt to make the call again.

"It's certainly an inconvenience for parents," Ken Derksen, public information officer for the district, said. Alert messages were sent out to parents Wednesday evening explaining the situation.

By this morning, most of the problem had been resolved, with only a handful of schools still experiencing sporadic problems, Lewis said.

"They all have something in common -- they're the schools whose exchange starts with 751," Lewis said, rattling off the list of the five schools still affected -- "Eastern Wayne Elementary, Eastern Wayne Middle, Greenwood Middle, Meadow Lane Elementary and Spring Creek Elementary."

Officials said since the problem originated with the server, it is difficult to say when it will be fixed.

"At this point, it's out of our hands," Lewis said. "Obviously, we want our parents to be able to get in touch with us any time they can. We're just doing our best to resolve it."