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Arlington Public Schools virtual learning up and running after fiber-optic cable causes outage

Damage to a fiber optic cable in Vienna caused an overnight outage. APS network services were restored by 1 p.m. Wednesday, and distance learning resumes Thursday.

ARLINGTON, Va. — Arlington County Schools closed for distance learning Wednesday after a fiber-optic cable malfunction caused huge problems for the county and school community, according to a statement from the school district.

APS network services were able to be restored by 1 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, but distance learning will not resume until Thursday. 

"Yesterday, APS experienced a complete loss of internet service as well as the connection to our secondary data center in Ashburn," the school system said in a letter to APS staff and families. "Our service provider repaired the damaged cable overnight and restored service late this morning." 

According to APS spokesperson Frank Bellavia, the fiber-optic cable was cut by a third party and not by the provider, Crown Castle. 

Meal services were not affected and went on as planned, school officials said. There were no impacts to the Aquatics Centers, either. 

Due to the outage, the deadline for making Level 2 selections in ParentVUE for students in grades PreK-5 and select CTE courses has been extended until Friday, Oct. 23, the school system said.

APS tweeted about the issues late Tuesday evening, saying they were hoping that service would be repaired by the time virtual learning started Wednesday.

"Our ISP notified us of a major fiber cut in Vienna causing a service disruption for APS. The vendor is working to restore service, but there is no estimate for restoration. An update will be provided in the a.m. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience," APS said in its social media statement.

The following provided to WUSA9 was sent to the school district's community:

Dear APS Staff and Families:

Our Internet Service Provider notified us of a major fiber cut in Vienna, Virginia that is causing a service disruption for APS. The vendor is working to restore service, but at this time there is no estimate for restoration.

We will provide an update in the morning.

We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

Earlier in October, a fiber-optic cable issue caused voter registration issues in Virginia, which led to registration in the state being extended to help those who missed out due to the outage.

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