Equipment cuts off internet to elementary school

Trent Ernst, Editor


On Wednesday, October 16, a piece of heavy equipment moving into the Monkman Commons housing project accidentally snagged a series of fibre optic lines strung between two posts, knocking out the internet at Tumbler Ridge Elementary.

“Last news I got is that they were going to fly in a fibre optic cable from Vancouver,” says School Secretary Judy Proulx shortly after the incident. “Fingers and toes crossed, it will get shipped.”

To fix the fibre optic cable, a length of cable had to be spliced in. Until it was fixed over the weekend, Proulx was “dead in the water.”

What did that mean for the school? “We’re doing things the old fashioned way, over the phone, which thank God we still have,” laughed Proulx. “We’re using paper for attendance. I think I’m psychic, because I had just downloaded a bunch of stuff I needed before it went out. But I do all my data entry online, the banking is done online, as it’s more effective. All the communications from board office is being done through First Class Mail while email is down. A lot of the school is run on the internet.”

While inconvenient, the school is able to get by. “It’s not the end of the world,” says Proulx. “It’s slower, and my printer keeps looking for the internet before it prints, which takes ages, but the kids are safe, so that’s all that matters.”

Proulx says that on the ground, it doesn’t affect the classroom that much. “The kids are on Mathletics, so they can’t go and do that, so they’ll just go back into the text books. The classes are continuing. They might get a couple days behind on internet projects. They just need to plan ahead. Thank God it didn’t hit the hospital internet.”

The cable was fixed over the weekend.