RSD temporarily shuts down Google services for students


On Thursday, the Rockwood School District technology department had to shut down all access to Google at Maquette, Crestview, Kehrs Mill, and Ellisville due to staff members having received inappropriate emails.

Lee Mitchell, head librarian, said she did not receive many complaints from students or teachers but did notice a decrease of students in the Library. She said lunch time was less crowded because students didn’t have access to their Google accounts.

Despite the loss of Google, many teachers and students adjusted and were able to continue with their day.

“I think you have to have a plan B and I think a lot of teachers do because they know that technology isn’t always reliable,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said the administration discovered the issue late Wednesday night and was able to contact teachers to inform them about the shutdown, allowing them to change up lesson plans.

“In terms of adjustment, students are very resilient,” Mitchell said. “In a school this size, we all have to be flexible sometimes.”

Vishnu Kumar, freshman, is in ALAR/P, a class that relies heavily on Google applications. However, in spite of the shutdown, Kumar said it didn’t impact the class.

“The fact that Google was down didn’t change much,” Kumar said. “It only affected us a little bit because we use Google Classroom, but Mrs. Sharitz just printed our stuff out and class went on as usual.”

Even though all freshmen have Chromebooks and Kumar said he uses his Chromebook and Google applications in his history, science and math classes, he said Rockwood isn’t too dependent upon it.

“As soon as something like this happens, even though eventually everything was fine, for a while I wasn’t sure if it would be,” Kumar said. “Mainly because of how often we use things online.”

Kumar also said backup plans were still necessary, in case something similar ever happened again.

Principal Dr. Greg Mathison explained the Google shut down was only supposed to last 24 hours. He emailed all teachers that homework turned on Google apps wouldn’t be possible with lack of access to Google.

Dr. Mathison said despite the lack of access to Google, teachers adjusted quickly by reverting back to whiteboards, pencils and paper.

“I mean truthfully, with this type of staff it’s just a little bump in the road,” Dr. Mathison said.
However, for some teachers, the shut down greatly impacted their plans for the day.

Robert Durham, language arts teacher, had a major issue with the Google shutdown.

“This is the worst day of the year for it,” Durham said. “I had 117 sophomore research papers due today, and we were going to upload them to Google Classroom.”

Durham had reserved the Writing Center for his students to be able to get everything printed out and ready, but when he received the email, his lesson plan went awry.

“And I, of course, got a bunch of other student emails in a panic,” Durham said. “So, the timing could not be worse.”

Durham said there is a definitely dependency on technology among students.

“It’s like when your GPS stops working,” Durham said. “You get lost and don’t know how to get back.”

As of yesterday, the issue has been fixed and Google has been working all of today. According to the Crestview principal no data was compromised.