Phone troubles for Norwich school system

(Photo: Tina Detelj/WTNH)

NORWICH Conn. (WTNH) — Parents needing to get in touch with their children’s schools have been having some trouble since last week.

The schools along with the central office have had “intermittent service.”

norwich school phone problems 4 Phone troubles for Norwich school system
(Photo: Tina Detelj/WTNH)

“Sometimes we can reboot if we unplug the back,” says Superintendent of School Abby Dolliver.

Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. She was able to get call my cell phone once it was reset.

“Hi Tina. It is working at the moment. If I lose you it’s not intentional,” said Dolliver. It’s a warning she now has to make during every phone call.

“It’s not a good thing. It’s frustrating,” said Dolliver. “The good thing is that our security systems are still all working, our internet’s working, our email’s working.”

The emergency call system which alerts parents is also working because it can be accessed by cell phone. But the intercom and paging systems are not working consistently. The faulty phones made it difficult for parents to contact the schools.

norwich school phone problems 3 Phone troubles for Norwich school system
(Photo: Tina Detelj/WTNH)

“If they call you would go right to voicemail,” said Dolliver.

But they do have a back up plan. Analog phones usually used for emergencies are now used for parents and staff.

“And it always works,” said Danette Thornton of Mahan Elementary School.

The intermittent problems remain at the Central offices, Case Street Early Learning Center, Kelly Middle School, and Mahan Elementary School. IT Director Brandon Gale has been working 12 hour days to try to figure out why.

“It’s basically going from checking cables to checking the components, looking at the servers, digging through the switches to try and find that one little piece that’ causing this whole issue,” said Gale.

The problem is believed to be with the Toshiba hardware in the $200,000 phone system installed just two years ago. The Toshiba phone division apparently is now defunct.

norwich school phone problems 2 Phone troubles for Norwich school system
(Photo: Tina Detelj/WTNH)

“That company is not making this phone anymore, any phones anymore apparently, so there’s no service providers readily available,” said Dolliver.

Norwich has a new citywide phone system and if the school department wants to join it it will cost $700,000.

“We don’t have that money,” said Dolliver. “We do not have that money.”

But she says they do need to find an answer to this problem.


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