On Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 5:51 p.m., Joplin, Mo., was struck by a horrific EF-5 tornado. Six schools were completely destroyed and four schools were damaged. Immediately, Infinite Campus Hosting and Computer Information Concepts (CIC), the Campus Channel Partner who provides service and support to Joplin School District, contacted the district leadership to ask what was needed. Top priority was getting current demographic data of students to account for their safety. Campus Hosting retrieved the backed- up information and sent it to Joplin via cloud communications. By Monday at 9:30 a.m., Joplin School District leaders began contacting students, staff and families, thanks to Campus Hosting.
Joplin is no stranger to storms. In anticipation of possible data disruption, they keep an additional back-up system in a vault in the high school two miles from the district office. Regrettably, this devastating tornado completely destroyed the high school and everything in it.
“As our city-wide fiber optics backbone was crushed and our data center that houses our district servers was left without a roof, we were in a very difficult situation,” says Traci House, Joplin School District’s Director of Technology. “There was so much to do. CIC and Infinite Campus reached out to contact us during the chaos, which was such a relief.”
As more than 8,000 homes and residences were destroyed, hotels filled up quickly and families moved in with relatives and friends. The challenge to locate people was immense and time critical. Within hours, Campus Hosting had created a disaster recovery website using the Saturday night data backed up at the corporate headquarters in Minnesota, and made it available to the district.
Joplin School District has been extremely satisfied with Infinite Campus and its relationship with CIC since it became a customer in 2007. Successful state reporting; integrated, real-time emergency dialing; user-friendly reporting and visualization tools; all give Joplin School District access to more information than they ever had before. However, after the tornado, Joplin School District is even more impressed with Infinite Campus and CIC.
Districts depend on their data. An enterprise-wide information system is serious business and so is the data hosting system that supports it. Knowing this, Campus Hosting backs up district data nightly at its data center. This practice has helped districts time and time again to recover and restore data records after a hardware malfunction or disruption of data due to a disaster.
“Having the nearly immediate access to the Infinite Campus Disaster Recovery in Minnesota was a huge help in finding our students and staff,” explains House. “Interestingly enough, because Internet access was limited, many staff used their mobile devices to access the Infinite Campus information they needed.”
“We were very fortunate to have only lost a few reports and some peripheral information that we were able to re-create,” recalls House. “We were able to get our Infinite Campus and email servers back up and running on generators for six days. We knew it was essential for everyone to have access to this data.”
With the help of their utility and optic provider, Joplin School District was able to get two buildings ready for a very large enrollment of summer school students by June 6, 2011. It was a great relief for everyone to be able to start summer school on time. With the full commitment of the entire community, the fall school year started on schedule, as well.
“We were very pleased with Infinite Campus BEFORE the tornado and are even more pleased now,” says House. “Infinite Campus and CIC are about relationships and you don’t always find that. To Infinite Campus and CIC… THANK YOU!”