Converge, January 1999, p. 56

The director of Pennsylvania’s Office of Educational Technology identifies three key areas to watch for emerging “Year 2000” computer bugs:

  1. Administrative data processing. This area includes just about every administrative function at schools and in your school system, such as accounting, payroll, inventory, and assessment systems.

  2. Built-in computer chips. Everything from elevators to fire control to security systems use built-in computer chips that may have hidden Y2K problems.

  3. Service providers. Even if your school is 100 percent free of Y2K problems, chances are that not all the vendors and service providers you deal with are.

Here are eight critical ways to address these problems:

  1. Gain the support and assistance of key administrators, such as your superintendent and school board members.

  2. Take an inventory of all systems that may use built-in computer chips and determine the implications of failure.

  3. Get written sign-offs from every service provider and vendor that they are free from Y2K bugs.

  4. Analyze the risks and then prioritize trouble spots according to how critical they are to operations. Bear in mind that it will often be less expensive to replace problem systems than to patch them.

  5. Start testing every system to make certain that fixes actually work.

  6. Have back-up plans in place if systems fail. Start keeping back-up copies of mission-critical files.

  7. Keep stakeholders informed of your efforts and talk to legal counsel to minimize the chance of litigation arising from Y2K problems.

  8. Make sure any new computers, software or equipment you purchase or procure has written documentation certifying it to be free of Y2K bugs.