Statewide outage locks families out of school systems

School District sign outside administration building on Vista Drive (October 2016). Photo: Discover Ferndale

Student information made available by the Ferndale School District to parents and guardians via the Family Access (Skyward) system has been unavailable since the weekend due to a software failure. People attempting to access the service were greeted instead by a cryptic message, “Http/1.1 Service Unavailable.”

Skyward and other services are provided by contract to Washington state school districts by Everett-based Washington School Information Processing Cooperative (WSIPC). WSIPC said they were doing a firmware upgrade on equipment when the failure occurred. The impact of the system failure extended to client school districts across the state, including Ferndale School District and all other Whatcom County school districts.

Ferndale School District officials say, in addition to Skyward, their Attendance Calling Services have been impacted. This service notifies families by phone when a student has been marked absent from classes. District officials “are asking that parents and guardians call in any student absences to their child’s school office. If your child was out today, please take the time to call the school office and excuse their absence.”

Skyward is a secure system that provides families password-restricted online access to real-time student information such as schedules, attendance, discipline, grades and history.

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WSIPC officials say equipment needed to resolve the issue is expected to arrive today. They expect replacing the damaged equipment and restoring full operation will take approximately 15 hours.