CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County Schools' IT hotline has received more than 2,000 calls in the first three days of school, and they’ve been able to answer around 1,000 of them.
The county has 35,000 students who started the year virtually which means the first week involves working out a lot of technical issues.
“The numbers are not that uncommon for this time of year. What is uncommon is the complexity of the problems," Director of Customer Support Judy Wyndham said. “Each problem takes a lot longer to solve than we would typically see.”
It’s because of this the district has doubled their hotline staff to 13 people and a number of others who assist with the troubleshooting. But even with increased staff, some parents have said they faced hour-long wait times, though the district said the average remains at about 30 minutes.
Valarie Brown, a mother of three, said she had to miss work Tuesday and had to leave early Wednesday to help her kids with virtual learning.
“I stayed on hold for four hours, and I never got in contact with anyone," Brown said on Wednesday.
In response to the long wait times, the district has launched a new online form for parents. This is a place for them to ask specific questions without having to spend time on the phone.
“It also has a way for them to say specifically what the technology is," Director of Innovation and Digital Learning Lainie Berry said. "If it’s something our team has to be involved with, they can route it to us more quickly, so parents don’t have to wait as long.”
Some of the top questions parents have been asking have ranged from inability to logging in to students not being able to see their class content.
“The number one question has been, ‘My password. I have forgotten my password," Wyndham said. "There are connectivity issues, and the next category would be things like, ‘How do I connect to Canvas? How do I get to my Zoom meeting?’ Those kind of how-to type calls.”
“A lot of times families will think they have to go to the Zoom app when in reality they just need to click on the link from their teacher," Berry said. "That’s the quickest way, because you’re just joining a meeting not creating your own meeting.”
The school district is also updating its parent info page often. There they can find helpful resource links, common questions and answers, and information on how to log into Canvas, the online platform being used by students and teachers.
The technology help desk number is 843-849-3400, and the family support helpline (which runs through Friday) is 843-937-6311.