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Hartford postpones first day of school after ransomware attack

Hartford postpones first day of school after ransomware attack
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The city of Hartford, Conn., postponed its scheduled first day of school Tuesday after a ransomware virus attack affected school systems over the weekend.  

Hartford Public Schools announced in a release that it was delaying the school reopening date and hosting no in-person or online classes Tuesday after the cyberattack. 

The restoration of the systems affected by the ransomware virus had not been completed and continued Tuesday morning, NBC Connecticut reported

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“We have been informed by Metro Hartford Information Services (MHIS), our City of Hartford shared services team that manages our network infrastructure, that the ransomware virus caused an outage of critical systems and the restoration of those systems are not complete,” the school district wrote in the release.

“Everyone at Hartford Public Schools was ready to welcome back our beautiful and capable students in person and remotely,” the release said. “We will provide updates when we have additional information to share.”

A new start day for the school district has not been announced, and an investigation has been launched, according to NBC Connecticut. 

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Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Leslie Torres-Rodriguez told the news outlet that officials learned of the extent of the outage Monday and the student information systems were restored by midnight. But the system that provides the bussing routes to the bus company was not restored in time. 

She said “at this point” it seems that parent and student information was not compromised, and the district hopes to open Wednesday.

“This is another example of how flexible we have to be,” Torres-Rodriguez told NBC Connecticut. “We were ready and we were excited – and we still are – to receive our students and staff. This was something that was out of our control, and we’re gonna give it another try.”

Hartford schools were supposed to reopen for in-person instruction for pre-K through second grade, sixth grade and ninth grade students on Tuesday. Third grade through fifth grade, seventh grade and eighth grade were set to start in-person instruction Wednesday.

High school sophomores, juniors and seniors were split into two groups, with one group poised to start Thursday and another scheduled for Friday.

The postponement of the first day of school comes as Hartford will conduct the school year through a hybrid model, partly online and partly in-person amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Schools across the country are returning to online, in-person or hybrid classes after most moved online early in the pandemic in the spring.