The effect of School Loop’s absence on teachers and students


Jai Uparkar

School Loop was down from Jan. 5 to Jan. 8 for all students in FUHSD, catching students and teachers off guard, who depended on School Loop for their final first semester grades and homework assignments. FUHSD is usually allerted about School Loop’s maintenance schedule beforehand, but this time there was no warning.

Due to the issue, the final due date for first semester grades was changed from Jan. 9 to Jan. 11. FUHSD’s Coordinator of Curriculum & Assessment Marianne Hew was the person responsible for this decision.

“Since teachers were not able to access their gradebooks for two working days (Friday and Monday), we pushed the due date for Semester 1 grades by two days to give them adequate time to finish their grade calculations once their access to School Loop had been restored,” Hew said.

The problem affected both students and teachers, many of whom didn’t have a platform to communicate with their students. Some teachers used alternative sites like Google Classroom or Facebook to inform their students of upcoming assignments or tests.

For sophomore Sean Chen, the issue became prevalent since he had a math test coming up, and he felt nervous that he wouldn’t be adequately prepared without access to the resources his math teacher posts in School Loop’s digital locker. His chemistry teacher used Google Classroom to post homework, but not many teachers have other sites available to post assignments.

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“No one really uses anything but School Loop prolifically,” Chen said. “Most teachers rely on School Loop and a lot of them suggest to their students to write down their homework in class, but a lot students don’t do that because the only time to do that is at the end of class, and most people want to get to their next class.”

According to Hew, the Teaching, Learning and Technology departments at FUHSD determined that the problem was not user error and not server-related, meaning it did not look like the problem was caused by something in FUHSD’s control. So, Scott Harrington, the Coordinator of Network Operations of FUHSD, contacted School Loop support to engage them in troubleshooting to find the source of the issue.

School Loop itself was not “down.” Some users, including office staff, administrators and parents, were able to login.

For freshman Frank Lu, the issue did not affect him because his parent’s account was working.

“I use my planner regularly even if School Loop is working,” Lu said. “Sometimes I forget to write my homework and I just check School Loop and it’s a backup for me to check my homework.”

However, students and teachers who log in to School Loop via LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) authentication were unable to access the system. The district uses LDAP as a last resort to figure out what the problem stemmed from. LDAP is a software protocol that allows anyone to find organization, people or resources (files and devices) in a network.

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“Teachers and students who connect to School Loop via LDAP authentication were unable to log in,” Hew said. “Since this was right before grades were due, this meant many teachers were unable to work on their grades […] including homework assignments and due dates.”

According to Chen, this incident caused many to be stressed because some teachers did not post their final grades, and students were waiting on them. He also realized that the problem highlighted how dependent students are on School Loop.

“I think why it was so bad this time was because […] it caught everyone off guard that relied on School Loop for their homework,” Chen said.