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Long wait greets some LPS remote learners on first day of second semester
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Long wait greets some LPS remote learners on first day of second semester

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Some remote learners were welcomed back to the start of second-semester classes with a virtual traffic jam that created problems getting into the classroom through Zoom.

Lincoln Public Schools officials said they think the problem had largely resolved itself after first period Tuesday, though they continued to monitor the situation throughout the day.

The biggest contributor to the problem appeared to be the volume of traffic — lots of students trying to get into class at the same time and more than on a normal day given that it’s the first day back from break, said Chief Technology Officer Kirk Langer.

Now, he said, everyone is familiar with remote learning, so more people likely tried to get on five minutes before class started, thus the traffic jam.

Access to Zoom at LPS goes through Synergy, the classroom and grading management software used by the district. Over break, LPS did an update to Synergy, a process that  has caused problems in the past.

Langer said this time he can’t say for sure whether that update contributed to the problems.

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He’s unsure how many students had problems, although the number of calls coming into the district was substantially smaller than when similar problems have cropped up in the past.

Good news: the computer department has a major update in the works that will “significantly" increase capacity — a 130% improvement.

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It has added servers as the year has unfolded, but this will increase the server capacity. Langer likened it to adding additional pickups vs. a large semi.

Computer techs didn’t do it before second semester started, he said, because teachers are still getting through the grading process from the first semester.

“There’s times you load the semi and there’s times you don’t, and you don’t if there’s still people in the house saying 'Wait, I have to finish this,'” he said.

LPS will likely do the upgrade over the coming weekend, unless problems continue and officials decide they must do it sooner.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7226 or mreist@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSreist

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Education reporter

Margaret Reist is a Lincoln native, the mom of three high school graduates now navigating college and an education junkie who covers students, teachers and policymakers inside and outside the K-12 classroom.

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