Ashford principal prepares for school in the wake of malware attack

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ASHFORD, Ala. (WTVY) - A malware attack is delaying the start of Houston County Schools…again.

(Image Source: MGN)

This is the second time in a week school leaders have pushed back the first day of school for students.

The malware attack is affecting both computers and the phone system.
Houston County Schools Superintendent David Sewell announced today that students won't go back until August 12th.

That means seven school days have been lost, but one principal is confident that they will get by just fine, technology or no technology.

"We don't know where this came from,” said Ashford High School Principal Bubba Odom. “We have no clue. They don't either. The bottom line is, it's more on them than it is on us. We've just got to take care of the kids."

Ashford High School Principal Bubba Odom and the rest of his staff at Ashford High School have been trying to get the school ready for students - without a school phone or any working computers.

"It's going to be a learning experience,” said Odom. “People are going to learn what it was like 50 years ago, 30 years ago, before cell phones and things of that nature."

Teachers are having to make hard copy lesson plans and they can't print anything, which is making getting organized for the new school year an issue.

Superintendent David Sewell says there are 4,000 computers or so in the system, and just about every one is having to be re-configured, a process that can take more than a half hour.

The school board has decided to delay the start of school until August 12th, and the state isn't requiring them to add any days to the back end of the calendar.

"We feel like the teachers can stay on task and teach bell to bell and this time will be made up,” said Houston County Schools Superintendent David Sewell. “We just have to be diligent with our time."

One of the biggest problems is the lack of access to INow, which the system uses to keep track of student information.

Without it, they won't be able to finalize schedules, but Principal Odom is confident they can work something out.

"If we have to go back to a magnetic board and we're sticking up people on a magnet board where this teacher goes, where this student goes, some of us are old enough we can go back to that,” said Odom. “It'll work."

The superintendent still couldn't tell WTVY if this was a ransomware attack.

All he said is the school system has not paid any money.

When asked if any student records were lost from the hack, he said they are "still assessing some of the damage."

He is expecting the network to be back up in about three weeks.

Again, Houston County Students will go back to school August 12th.

Open house for the school system will be held on August 8th from 3:00 p.m. till 7:00 p.m.



 
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