Category Archives: Alerts

FCC Broadband Benefit Webinar Today

Earlier this spring, I wrote about a recently-approved emergency broadband benefit from the FCC that will provide internet stipends for low-income families. Apologies for the short notice, but I just learned about a consumer-focused webinar the FCC will offer today at 2 PM Central. You can view the live webinar here, or click here to learn more.

We’ll share more information via the ICCSD Tech & Innovation Blog when information is available with regard to how to apply and get started with the program, but in the meantime, feel free to read the Consumer FAQ available here.

Iccsd Power Outage Update (9/8/2020)

Power has been restored to the District’s Educational Services Center, but a separate power outage is now impacting schools across the northern portion of the District.  Power and/or internet services are currently down in the following schools: 

  • Liberty HS
  • North Central Junior High
  • Wickham Elementary
  • Grant Elementary
  • Garner Elementary
  • Penn Elementary
  • Van Allen Elementary

Linn County REC has been contacted, but we do not have an ETA for service restoration.  

Further, the District has been notified that many residences on the east side of Iowa City are without power.  This outage has not yet impacted any District facilities, so we will not receive communication from MidAmerican Energy regarding this issue. 

ICCSD Power Outage

Happy first day of school, everybody!  Unfortunately, the District has experienced a power outage impacting the Educational Services Center, which serves as the District’s administration building and home to the technology help desk. 

We have a generator that will ensure that our servers and network services stay up, so there should be no substantial impact to services like Canvas, Seesaw, G Suite, etc.  Our Help Desk has been interrupted, however, and we are currently redeploying staff to facilities that do have power.  We will continue to work through requests as quickly as possible, but be aware that phone and chat support, in particular, will be disrupted. 

MidAmerican Energy reports that they expect to resolve the outage by approximately noon today (9/8/2020). 

Zoom Video Conferencing Best Practices

UPDATED: 09/11/2020

As the use of Zoom has exploded in ICCSD and around the country, here are some best practices to implement in order to ensure that your Zoom meetings run effectively and securely.  

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a Zoom alternative, you should check out Canvas Video Conferencing or Google Meet.  

1. Do not post Zoom links publicly

Share Zoom meeting URLs by email, Canvas site, shared document, or another form of direct or secured communication.  

2. Create meeting-specific URLs, rather than using your personal meeting room

If you use your personal meeting room, you run a greater risk of the URL being exposed than when using a one-time or meeting-specific URL.  

3. Ensure that you (and your students) are using an ICCSD Zoom account

  • To log in, visit Zoom’s Sign-In page and click “Sign in with Google”
  • NOTE: Unfortunately, this is currently unavailable for most students due to Zoom’s age verification rules.  ICCSD is working to determine whether Zoom can configure our domain to bypass age verification. 

4. Consider using secure options for your meetings

These options include: 

  • Add a passcode to your meeting
  • Require all students to use their full name when joining class.  
  • Enable your meeting waiting room to approve attendees. Only allow students to join who are using their full (first and last) name. 
  • Control or disable in-meeting chats, if the chat feature isn’t required for a meeting
  • If your meeting includes only ICCSD individuals, you can check “Only authenticated users can join meetings”.  Note that students and staff would need to log in to Zoom rather than joining as a guest; all ICCSD users can log in using Zoom’s “Log In with Google” option.  
    • NOTE: Unfortunately, this is currently unavailable for most students due to Zoom’s age verification rules.  ICCSD is working to determine whether Zoom can configure our domain to bypass age verification. 
  • If you are sharing your screen, you can lock annotation by clicking the “…More” button in the main toolbar, then choosing “Disable Attendee Annotation”
  • Lock your meeting after all expected attendees have joined.  You can do this by clicking the “Participants” button, then clicking “…More” toward the bottom of the participants panel and selecting “Lock Meeting”.  

 

ICCSD Tech Support

Iowa City Schools students, families, and staff can reach us to obtain technical support using any of the methods listed below. Also, please check out our Frequently Asked Questions page to support home use of technology during the COVID-19 pandemic.

ICCSD Helpdesk

Hours: 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday – Friday

helpdesk@iowacityschools.org

Phone: (319) 688-1950

Chat: Use the chat option available in the bottom right corner of this page during business hours.

Spanish language support is available at the ICCSD helpdesk.

After-Hours Help

Hours: 4:30 PM to 10:00 PM, Monday – Friday

Click here to reserve a time slot

Pearson Education has partnered with the Iowa City Schools at no charge to offer after-hours technology support through their customer service centers in Iowa City and San Antonio, TX.

The District has coordinated with  Pearson to help support District students, families, and staff, though please be aware that certain types of requests will need to be referred back to the District.

Spanish language support is available via the Pearson after-hours support.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please check this document for current answers to the most common questions we receive related to offsite learning.