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December 20, 1999

"Y2K Study Hall" Held To Discuss Issues With Students

SPRINGFIELD -- The bell rang today signaling the start of the first electronic "Y2K Study Hall" for Illinois students to discuss Y2K issues with Illinois' Deputy Governor for Education and the Chief Technology Officer, Governor George H. Ryan said.

High school students in Bradford, Carthage, Mt. Vernon, Coal City, and Springfield were connected by interactive video to discuss Y2K and possible effects.

"Students hear about Y2K 'bugs' but are not always told how it may impact them," said Deputy Governor Hazel Loucks. "This event allowed us to hear what was on their minds and dispel Y2K myths." Loucks was joined at the event by Chief Technology Officer Mary Reynolds and the State Board of Education's Technology Outreach Director, Lugene Finley.

Reynolds, who is also coordinator of Y2K activities for Governor Ryan, provided an overview of Y2K and how the state has prepared. "We tried to explain to kids in their terminology what Y2K is all about, discuss the potential impact on electronic devices they use and how they can help their families prepare for a long holiday winter weekend in Illinois," Reynolds said. "Our goal was to listen and raise awareness about Y2K."

Students asked questions about the readiness of those areas that they depend upon, such as electricity, as well as questions on safety at school and in their communities. "Students know more about technology than most of us," Reynolds added, "so this conversation was important so we can understand their perspective and hear their concerns.

"We want students to focus on the great opportunities in the Year 2000, and not on concerns over Y2K problems."

Information about Y2K is available at: www.state.il.us. The interactive Y2K Study Hall also was viewable on a webcast through the State of Illinois home page. A copy of the video from the webcast is available for viewing on the Governor's website.


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