The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

WiFi Crashes at WIS; Administration Forced to Adjust


On the morning of Feb. 25, as students and teachers trickled into their classrooms and pulled out their cellular devices and laptops, they realized that the Internet was down. Teachers could not access their lesson plans or grade papers online, students could not access their saved work on Google Drive, and seniors, who had intended to study for their mock IB exams at school, were forced to return home to find internet.

Initially, everyone wanted to know what was causing the problem. Zevi Mehlman, Associate IT Director at WIS, said that he learned that the Internet was not working at 6:00 a.m.. Mehlman explained that the problem was simply that, “Verizon provides the Internet to the school and there is a problem somewhere out there in the Verizon world.” However, he understood the importance of getting the WiFi back up and running, pledging to work “24/7” until the problem was fixed.

Mehlman describes the school’s WiFi connection as a “high- end line” monitored by Verizon and kept up and running with the help of the IT department. Before Verizon diagnosed the problem, Mehlman said that he hoped it was not a cut line, which he explained would be a serious hassle.  According to him, WIS was the only area in the neighborhood affected, but he anticipated that the consequences would be severe, given that “[WIS] heavily relies on the internet for many many things… For now it’s being used everywhere and for everything.”

Biology and psychology teacher Emily Smith had planned a biology test for this day, but she could not insert a picture that the students were asked to identify due to the lack of connection. She was forced to show students this important picture by walking around the classroom with her phone as they got to that question. Not only was this annoying for her, but it also meant that her students did not get a lot of time to examine the picture, making that particular question more difficult.

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Another member of the faculty whose day was affected by the outage was English teacher Nick Loewen, who was unable to complete work that he wanted to get done. “I haven’t been able to grade papers, and also I haven’t been able to access resources to use in class, which I would have wanted to do,” Loewen said. Although this wasn’t a problem in all of his classes, Loewen explained that he was able to adjust because one student managed to use the “personal hotspot” on her phone, which made up for some of the many technical difficulties.

The lack of connection also impacted the Nursing Department in a large way.”We can’t document any of the student visits, which we are required to do, and we can’t do proper research for classes we have to teach,” explained Jeanne Romilly, WIS’ head nurse. “Our hands are tied here in the nursing department.”

Tina Thuermer, however, was able to find a positive spin on the day, saying “”I’ve been having conversations with people I never have conversations with.” In addition, she was able to cut out procrastination, read a few chapters of a book she’d been wanting to get to, and clean out a drawer. In fact, Mrs. Thuermer expressed that she wished that there could be more WiFi outages.

Librarian Sonali Kumar also had a slightly different experience, coming to a realization while working during the day of the outage. Referencing the Ancient Library of Alexandria, she remarked that, “I’ve learned that there are some functions in a library that have basically been the same for thousands of years.”

The day’s circumstances prompted her to think about the nature of her work, and instead of doing anything online, she spent a good portion of her day organizing and sorting books. “It reminds me that my profession is very old,” she said. Despite this, she did say that the librarians did experience some difficulties because the entire system was down, and some of the work that she had to do remained unfinished.

As Mr. Mehlman explained, these difficulties affected the staff more than the students, but he saw potential problems arising for students in the near future. “As the school goes more one-to-one with iPads, and they use them more and more in the classrooms, it will affect more of the students,” he said.

For the time being, a day without WiFi certainly went to show how crucial connection is for the administration on campus.


By Sophie Moore and Rohan Subramanian
Additional reporting provided by Rosie Bradbury, Troy Freeman, and Bella Teerlink

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