Scituate’s Day Without Internet

Sorina Condon, Staff Writer

On Monday, February 6th, all Scituate Public Schools lost the internet at about 9:00 a.m. until about noon the same day. District Technology Coordinator Richard Long explained the situation was caused by “a hardware failure in the main server room” at Scituate High. Long stated, “There was a switch that went down, and unfortunately, the switch is kind of the nexus for all network communications throughout the district, so it was a bad one to go down.” 

According to Long, during his 15 years with SPS, this type of disruption is unusual: “We’ve probably had a total network failure like this three or four times, so it doesn’t happen that often, but the teachers like to be prepared.”

Fortunately, SHS teachers responded swiftly, as they adjusted their lesson plans for the day.

SHS math teacher Craig Parkins said the internet being down only “slightly” affected his classes, as he already had most of his materials printed out and copied. Nevertheless, Parkins said, “I often try to print something off right before class that will help teaching for that day.” With the internet being down, Parkins was unable to print before class; however, he exclaimed, “We survived to teach another day!”

SHS history teacher Richard Kermond explained that the internet being down “definitely” affected his plans. Although most of his classes are “tied to slides” that guide students and “most individual or group work that is using resources is usually posted on Google Classroom instead of printed,” Kermond said, “Losing the internet when you have planned these sorts of things is not the end of the world, but it does mean you have to quickly pivot to a different plan.”

Offering further perspective, Kermond stated, “The internet is a great tool. The problem really is not that you don’t have it. You can always plan not to use anything electronic. However, if you plan on using something that will require connectivity, you have to quickly figure out what you can do that is a reasonable substitute for what you’d hoped to do.”                         

World Language teacher Sarah Brady reported her students were unable to participate in a vocabulary review game she had planned; however, they were still able to work on their posters for class. Planning ahead for such an event, Brady also printed out a reading for her students, making it easy to carry on without the internet. 

In the science wing, teacher Charlie O’Driscoll explained that “it’s always difficult as a teacher to react to unexpected changes in your classroom,” but “luckily” she has a “great group of students who are flexible!” O’Driscoll said her students were able to do the same activities she had planned but without the internet–students used microscopes to observe cells in different phases of mitosis.

In another class, O’Driscoll projected the discussion questions on the board and asked students to write their ideas down on a piece of paper while they worked through the different parts of the lesson. Although students would typically work on a shared Google doc, O’Driscoll admitted “it was actually kind of nice.”

Lastly, in the English department, teacher Jennifer Curtis “luckily” planned a lesson that was “highly transferable to paper,” so it “wasn’t a crisis.” Curtis added, “Teachers always have version two and three of what they could do.” She cited this quality as being “one of the superpowers of a teacher,” stating, “you’re always ready for what life is going to throw at you.” Thanking students for their flexibility, Curtis complimented her classes for being “highly engaged and invested in their work.”