E-learning website goes down on first day of virtual school

There were some anxious moments on the first day of virtual learning when many students weren’t able to log onto Edsby, the digital platform used by Hillsborough County and other school districts. Students, teachers and parents breathed a sigh of relief when the platform was fixed by mid-morning.

Several school districts including Hillsborough and Pinellas will start grading students’ work next week. This week will be used to get up to speed on e-learning.

“This week will be a week where we can continuously provide ongoing professional development to our educators, to our teachers, to make sure they know how to interact with children on our educational platforms,” says Addison Davis, Hillsborough County’s new superintendent of schools.

School systems across Florida are trying to salvage the school year from the novel coronavirus outbreak that has people staying at home and keeping their distance from others. School officials say parents and students should make their homes a place for learning.

“This is about you creating times and structure every single day to learn,” says Davis. “While school may be closed, you have to take the initiative to lead in an independent manner to have a structure scheduled every day to commit to doing your work.”

School districts are working to supply devices to students whose families don’t have computers at home.

“We know that not all students have access to the technology for this e-learning environment,” says Tamara Shamburger, a Hillsborough County School Board member, “So I’m pleased that we’re going to take the time to make sure every student has what they need.”

School districts will likely loan tens of thousands of computers to families that don’t have them at home. Spectrum has offered to provide 60 days of free WiFi.

School districts across the area, including Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, and Sarasota gave out food to families with children who depend on school breakfasts and lunches.

If you feel sick:

The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions around the clock. Questions may also be emailed to covid-19@flhealth.gov. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.

LINK: Florida's COVID-19 website

CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know

AROUND THE WORLD: CoronavirusNOW.com

Map of known COVID-19 cases:

MOBILE APP USERS: Click here for map