Update on Huntsville City Schools cyber attack

Updated: Dec. 11, 2020 at 1:53 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - UPDATE: Huntsville City Schools spokesperson Craig Williams updated the latest on the learning plan for the school system on Friday.

See the full briefing below:

Some of the bigger points today from Williams:

“Some significant and positive news today. Teachers and students can access many of their platforms now from home just not on the HCS network”

“Students in grades K-8 can now resume using their chromebooks.”

“High school students do not need to login to their Windows devices yet. The groups with those devices are in grades 9-12 and also our teachers.”

ORIGINAL: Huntsville City School District leaders updated the public on where the investigation stands on the cyber attack from last week.

Also Wednesday, the board of education meeting took place where leaders talked about the resilience of teachers and faculty after a hard year from the pandemic and now the cyber security attack. Superintendent Christie Finley said the employees at the school have had to remain flexible, and willing.

“I am so blessed to work with colleagues in this district who can overcome adversity and any challenge that comes their way,” Superintendent Finley said.

Finley said she realizes they’ve had to increase faculty workload, and due to this she announced a plan to help them with $500 in supplemental pay.

That money totals to about $1.4 million dollars out of the general fund, according to school leaders.

“We do what we do. We teach our students whether that’s laptop, or pen and paper,” Superintendent Finley said. “We are teaching standards which are driven by the teacher not resources like a laptop.”

On Wednesday, school leaders also announced they don’t believe student information or third party systems were compromised.

Chromebooks for students in grades K through 8th are believed to not be impacted too, according to Spokesperson Craig Williams with Huntsville City Schools.

Meanwhile, high school students’ devices are going to need further examining.

“We are going to be collecting student devices for all high school students and providing teachers with new devices,” Williams said.

Williams said the high school students will be re-issued devices as soon as they can while teachers will get new devices.

“We already had these devices in storage so it’s just a matter of deploying those and doing so sooner rather than later,” Williams said.

WAFF is still waiting to hear how this cyber attack happened, and we are told that’s part of the ongoing investigation.

For now, students should leave their devices off until they get instructions from their schools, according to school leaders.

Board members will vote on that supplemental pay at their next board meeting.

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