Internet outage disrupts virtual school day in Hamilton, Halton, Niagara

The virtual school day was disrupted for several Ontario students and teachers Tuesday, as customers with multiple internet providers lost service.

“Please, note that we are investigating an issue impacting our Internet services,” said a tweet from Cogeco just before 10:30 A.M. local time.

“Our technicians are working to resolve this situation as soon as possible. We apologize for the inconveniences it may cause.”

The outage, which affected multiple internet providers from Windsor to Ottawa, also impacted the first full day of class for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.

Boards in the Halton and Niagara region also acknowledged the outage.

“Not much we can do when big servers go down,” said a tweet from the Niagara Catholic District School Board.

“It doesn’t seem to be everywhere, but we’re hearing from lots of frustrated folks. Sorry, this is beyond our control.”

The Halton Catholic District School Board said the outage could impact remote learning.

“This may affect your ability to access your remote learning platform. Thank you for your patience as we wait for technicians to resolve the issue,” said a tweet from the board.

In a tweet, the HWDSB said students will not be penalized for missing class due to the outage.

It is unclear what caused the outage, or when internet service will be restored.

“We continue to monitor but we are hearing some areas are coming back up,” said Shawn McKillop, communications manager at HWDSB.

He said the board does not know how many students were affected.

“The Cogeco service at the Education Centre was not impacted, which is a positive sign that our system platforms continue to operate,” said McKillop in an email.

“We appreciate the patience from our families and the flexibility from our staff who are prepared for technical connection challenges should they occur. They are meeting the needs of our students during this time.”

The outages come as students across the province are logging on for online-only classes, part of the Ontario government’s efforts to curb the spread COVID-19.

Students in elementary school will be learning from home until January 11, while secondary school students will learn remotely until Jan. 25.

The shift to remote learning is part of a provincial lockdown that began on Boxing Day and is set to last until Jan. 9 in northern Ontario and Jan. 23 in southern Ontario.

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