COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 173
October 25, 1996

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Technology Impacts of the Century Date Change

 
  The purpose of this memo is to make you aware of a
  challenge facing technology users.  The challenge deals with
  the ability of computers to function properly after December
  31, 1999.
  
  For many years, computer programmers wrote programs
  storing the year as 2 digits.  For instance, the "1996"
  would be stored as simply "96."  As long as the century was
  between 1900 and 1999, this did not create a problem. 
  However, on January 1, 2000, any computer software which has
  not been upgraded to store and compute 4 digit dates will no
  longer function properly.  This problem may affect all sorts
  of software - from operating systems provided by the
  hardware manufacturer to software developed by your own
  staff.  It can even include such items as spreadsheets and
  databases developed using "off the shelf" software.  You
  should be aware that any technology using software may have
  the potential of not performing correctly.
  
  Given the uncertain magnitude of this challenge, we
  suggest that you and your staff become familiar with this
  issue.  To help you do this, we have provided a link on the
  Technology Division Homepage of Virginia's PEN
  (http://wwww.pen. k12.va.us/go/Technology) to a World Wide
  website considered one of the best sources of information
  on this topic (often referred to as "The Century Date
  Change").
  
  Please feel free to contact Mr. Joseph Aulino, our
  Director of MIS at jaulino@pen.k12.va.us or (804) 225-2941,
  or Mr. Hud Croasdale, Director of Council on Information
  Management at (804) 225-3622 for further details.
  
  
  RL/emt