KIPP Camden schools cancel first day of virtual school after Zoom outage

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A group of renaissance schools in Camden, N.J. had to postpone the first day of virtual school because of technical issues with the video-conferencing application Zoom.

Jasmine Streater and her daughter India were very excited about the first day of first grade, hoping to learn to read this year.

But virtual school got off to a bumpy start Monday morning. KIPP schools are planning an all-virtual curriculum until at least October 2.

"When we logged onto zoom, there was an outage. A nationwide outage," said Streater.

And soon...

"And another text message, and then it was like canceled for the day," said Xavier Poller of Camden, whose four daughters were set to start their academic year on Monday.

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All four KIPP Academy renaissance schools in Camden canceled the first day of virtual school after it was clear the Zoom issue wasn't going to be a quick fix.

"I figure it's just a little difficulty - first day. Hopefully, it'll get better tomorrow," said Poller.

The outage kept users across the U.S. from logging onto Zoom webinars or meetings this morning. Zoom hasn't said what caused the issue, but says it's fixed now.
KIPP New Jersey's Executive Director Drew Martin says they'll still use Zoom, but they'll also have a backup platform.

"We're having training for our teachers this evening on Google Meet and then it'll take us another week to get accounts for everyone on WebEx, but we will have two backup solutions," said Martin.

The parents we spoke with are still optimistic for the school year.

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"Feeling a little overwhelmed but I'm happy. I'm happy that they're still going to be able to do school. Learning is important," said Streater.

Martin encourages other schools to learn from KIPP's bumpy start and have a backup platform in place.

KIPP students should return to the virtual classroom Tuesday. They'll also have delay protocols in place - similar to a two-hour delay for inclement weather - in the event of another technology interruption.
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