March 30 update: The issues with Infinite Campus Messenger have now been resolved, RSD chief information officer Deborah Ketring said in a statement. “When using Infinite Campus Messenger, please set the default delivery device to include both inbox and email,” Ketring said. “In the event that the email is not received by the parent and/or student, they can retrieve the message without attachments from their Infinite Campus message center.”
Infinite Campus Messenger was inundated with messages throughout the Rockwood School District (RSD) on March 25, the day before digital education started as schools closed due to coronavirus.
The program, used by teachers to contact parents and students, received an influx of messages as teachers sought to inform parents of their plans and crashed, said information systems coordinator Sudha Natesan.
“We have a limit on the number of email messages that can be sent per day,” Natesan said. “Due to the high volume of email messages sent by the Infinite Campus Messenger system, the server was unable to process the messages and many were lost, the reason being that our respectful teachers are trying to help our students during this difficult time. .”
RSD’s system teams investigated the error and determined it was caused by an overload of the system’s Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server, said Deborah Ketring, chief information officer.
“We are currently investigating other options for handling the SMTP component,” Ketring said.
Ketrin said she was contacted by several parents and students who did not receive messages. She felt that the scale of the problem was very large.
“I believe every family has been touched by at least one missing message,” Ketrin said.
As a result, many students did not receive messages containing important information related to the Alternative learning plan (ALP).
History teacher Steve Klawiter, who tried to send letters to parents on March 25 explaining when he would be available to help pupils, realized his letters had gone nowhere after receiving messages from some of his students. Klawiter also said similar technical issues happened to his wife, who works in the Parkway School District.
“After some students reached out and said they hadn’t received anything, we posted the parents’ letters on Google Classroom and asked the students to deliver them to us,” Klawiter said. “I guess Infinite Campus will rework their Messenger system to try to make it as robust as their notebook.”
Ketrin said other facilities used by the district experienced similar issues around the same time.
“Google’s GSuite for Education platform experienced a major global outage on March 26 that impacted districts in this country and other countries,” Ketring said. “Other systems used by K-12 school districts have also experienced various issues; for example, the URL shortening site bit.do was unavailable from March 24 to March 26.
Natesan said the Messenger system failure was detected quickly “thanks to our fantastic network team”.
“Our network supervisor was immediately alerted to this issue through our internal modification systems that we have in place,” Natesan said.
A Press release Ketring said RSD was “working with Infinite Campus and a vendor to get Messenger up and running as soon as possible.” Ketrin said she initially expected the issue to be resolved by the morning of March 27. Natesan said she didn’t know how long a fix would take.
“At this time, we don’t know how long it will take Infinite Campus technical support to do their part, because we don’t know what’s involved,” Natesan said. “They are aware of the seriousness of the problem and it is classified as a high priority.”
Until then, Natesan said teachers can still continue to send mail through Infinite Campus Messenger by selecting both “Inbox” and “Send via Email”, but said the message could not be sent with attachments. Ketrin said teachers can also send email directly from their district Gmail accounts, but said those accounts “have a sending limit of 3,000 unique addresses per day.”