2017-04-19 / Front Page

Accident Knocks Out Internet To Schools

For those who don’t believe everything is connected, a trailer came loose, struck a utility pole that caused a power outage Monday morning, April 17, and knocked out Internet service to schools in 30 counties.

Full details were not available at presstime, but reports say a trailer being towed by a truck on St. Rt. 66 became unhitched.

The trailer went off the road and struck a utility pole at the corner of the highway, Fulton Co. Rd. A, and Henry Co. Rd. W about 8:18 am.

The accident caused a power outage which included the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center Building in the Archbold Industrial Park.

NwOESC houses the Northern Buckeye Educational Council, the parent organization of the Northwest Ohio Computer Association.

NWOCA provides Internet and telephone service to 127 schools, including 78 public schools, 16 non-public, and 33 community schools.

Those schools are located in 30 Ohio counties, serving over 100,000 students.


Mark Robinson, NWOCA executive director, said when the power went out, the NWOCA system was to switch over to a battery backup until an on-site generator starts to take over the load.

Robinson said the battery backup failed.

Joe Prchlik, director of operations for NWOCA, said lights went out in the building.

The NWOCA generator did start, but it took about two hours to bypass the battery backup system.

Internet service was restored about 10:30 am.

The battery backup system is being repaired, Robinson said.

State Tests

Mike Zimmerman, technology director for the Pettisville School District, said the Internet service outage occurred about 10 minutes before students were to start their morning session of state testing.

“What was really nice, was, it went out before the state testing was to start,” rather than in the middle of the session, Zimmerman said.

The morning testing session was postponed. With service restored, the afternoon session went on as scheduled, he said.

Several teachers called right away, asking what happened. That, he said, indicates the school’s reliance on the Internet.

Aaron Rex, superintendent of the Archbold Area School District, said state testing wasn’t scheduled to start there until today, Wednesday.

The Internet service outage did disrupt some teachers who were using Internet based tools in their classrooms, Rex said.

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