Orange County families have trouble connecting to LaunchED for first day of school

Interruption errors, outages reported

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The start of Abigail Dawson's first day of school was not a smooth one as she attempted to log into LaunchED Monday morning.

She received a notice around 9:30 a.m. that read, “There appears to be an issue with your network.”

[READ: 4 things Orange County Public Schools wants parents to know before Monday | Everything you need to know about Orange County’s back-to-school plan]

After trying for 20 minutes, she eventually logged in but could not start a live stream with her first period teacher.

"I don't see anything," Abigail said.

By 10:15 a.m., she was still not able to connect to her physical education class so her dad decided to log her out then log her back in to see if anything would change.

“We were finally able to get into Launchpad, which is the first step, was able to get into Canvas and then try to log into her first class, which was P.E., and the live stream didn’t,” James Dawson said.

After trying for almost an hour, at 10:25 a.m. things started to look better. Abigail was able to connect with her second period class, language arts.

Dawson said he was relieved once he saw that and is hoping Abigail will not have problems for the rest of the day.

“I think we will be OK going forward, that’s my hope,” Dawson said.

Abigail started sixth grade on Monday and attends Piedmont Lakes Middle School.

Also on Monday, News 6 heard from multiple parents who said they were having difficulties connecting to the LaunchEd system. They shared screenshots showing service interruption errors and emails from technical support at ClassLink notifying them of outages.

Wekiva High School started the day with a tweet telling students that Sunday night’s storm “had a profound electrical impact” on the school and because of that, officials were having difficulty with the LaunchEd platform. That issue was resolved by mid-morning.

The school district provided this message Monday to families who were struggling with the system:

“OCPS families, thank you for your patience today. As stated repeatedly over the weekend, OCPS and AT&T prepared for the increased traffic, but there are always adjustments that need to be made when the volume of participants increases on the first day. Teachers and principals have been working diligently through the challenges, and we thank you for your support and understanding. We want to provide you an update from this morning, there were some systems issues districtwide. First thing this morning, there was a period of approximately 20 minutes when we turned on the back-up servers to support LaunchPad for high school classes, and we added additional redirect servers around 10 a.m. to assist with the volume as middle schoolers started class. Canvas experienced some slowdowns, as expected, during the heavy use period mid-morning with 110,000 concurrent logins. All told, there were 413,517 launches of the Canvas App in OCPS today by 10:30 a.m. The vendor continues to monitor and adjust servers to improve overall system performance. And around 9am, video conferencing on Big Blue Button reached 4,000 concurrent sessions which impacted audio for a bit, and so that vendor increased service for our district at that point.

Again, we appreciate the patience and understanding of our students, teachers and families. Here are some trouble-shooting tips for students that were sent out to parents over the weekend: A) Turn the device off, wait 60 seconds and then restart it. B ) Pause, and then try the connection again after a few minutes. C) Call or email your school know you are having a problem so they can log all concerns. And please, help your child relax about these issues, and explain to them that there are no penalties for not being able to log on.”

Orange County Public Schools announced in late July that the semester would start virtually for all students on Monday and then, on Aug. 21, students would continue the academic year using whichever learning option they selected -- either LaunchEd, in-person or Orange County Virtual School.

About 37% of students in the district will return to campus for in-person learning amid ongoing concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter and go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.

About the Author: