Email system goes down for a week, affecting all ESD staff

By Peter Kidane

A recent tragedy struck the teachers of MTHS as the Edmonds School District email server failed for a whole week.

The Edmonds School District said that “the District’s email services were down due to data corruption. This corruption was a result of two sequential hardware failures of our Storage Area Network (SAN).”  The mail stored up until the system was corrupted had to be manually restored.

“Microsoft officials confirmed that this was the process we needed to follow, however, due to the large size of our overall mail stores the downtime was lengthy,” Cynthia Nelson, Edmonds School District technology director, wrote in an email to all district employees.

For some teachers, it was a frustrating experience and a time to find new ways of communication. Email is the main method of communication for teachers wanting to communicate with students, and vice-versa.

“It was frustrating at the time, because I have had email at work forever,” math teacher Nick Lencioni said.

For some teachers the email server outage was a good thing.

“I really liked it because it wasn’t sucking all my time away,” Spanish teacher Robin Cogburn said.

Students and teachers use email as a way to talk about schoolwork that needs to be done or missing assignments that students need to turn in. Without that, students had to make the effort to come in before or after school to talk with their teachers about those problems on their own time.

It may have even helped teachers reestablish face-to-face interactions. This probably had a big effect on the communications among teachers, students and parents as well. Teachers tend to prefer using email to communicate with guardians and with that out of the picture, other alternatives needed to be utilized.

The district is planning on looking at several different options at how to prevent a problem like this from happening in the future. Some solutions are expensive such as buying a second SAN for up to $200,000 or changing the way email services are provided.