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Tech Issues Disrupt Virtual First Day of School in Chesterfield

James River High School
An online bottleneck stopped many students from logging on to their first day of virtual learning for Chesterfield County's over 60,000 students. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Technical issues plagued the first day of virtual learning for Chesterfield County students. Most of the issues were fixed by early morning but some parents, like Mike Karabinos, still have concerns. 

Karabinos knows a thing or two about IT issues. He’s been working in the field for over a decade on situations just like the one that happened as students tried to log on for their first day of virtual classes. 

So when his two children were having trouble signing in to Google Classroom Tuesday morning, Karabinos knew it must have been a capacity issue--meaning too many people were trying to log on at once. 

“It’s the log on servers, it’s the servers providing content--the actual classrooms themselves--all being hit at the same time by this massive group of students that haven’t used all of this at the same time before, you’re likely to have a bottleneck,” Karabinos said.

But this led him to other questions.

“Did Chesterfield County invest what it needed to in its IT infrastructure and its IT talent to make sure this works?” Karabinos said.

Throughout the morning, school officials kept parents up to date with emails, texts and on social media, saying they were working on the problem. 

Just before noon, the district released a breakdown of what happened, confirming what Karabinos suspected--too many students were logging on. 

Chesterfield schools, like hundreds of other school districts, use an online system called Rapid Identity that allows students access to do their work. 

Officials sayeven though they tested out the system prior to the first day of classes, the system just wasn’t ready to handle over 60,000 students. Going forward, they say that they’ve doubled the capacity to process the log-in times at a quicker pace and that the second day of virtual learning should go a lot smoother.


Ian M. Stewart previously was the transportation reporter and fill-in anchor for VPM News.
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