Huntsville City Schools students return to classes after cyber security attack

Huntsville City Schools finished up the first day back on Monday after a cyber security attack.

Posted: Dec 7, 2020 8:22 PM
Updated: Dec 8, 2020 9:49 AM

Huntsville City Schools finished up the first day back on Monday after a cyber security attack.

Teachers and staff were excited to have students back in the classroom at Challenger Middle School, and their first priority was getting students back to learning.

Virtual students have packets to take home and work on for the week, and some students are back in the classroom.

Students in both groups are working on paper.

And teachers are still teaching even though computers and technology can't be used right now.

"We have some very veteran teachers in our building, quite a few that have put together packets for our students so they can continue learning. And that's the exciting thing to see that. This is my 22nd year in education and that's the way I kind of learned how to do things," said Bo Coln, Challenger Middle School principal.

Now, a lot of the packets being sent home with students are review material, so missing a week of school last week is not putting them behind in their learning this semester.

Principal Coln said a lot of students came to pick up their packets on Monday. But if students aren't able to come and get them, he said he and his assistant principal would be bringing them to students' homes.

Coln says it's important for students to have the material so they can keep learning at home. He also said that learning without a computer can actually benefit students by giving them a challenge.

"You know, when I'm looking at something or I'm asked to do something, instead of being able to Google it or look for an answer, you know, now, they're having to get in that context. Looking for context clues or reading a passage and having to sit there and study on what did I read and did I retain that versus asking Google or Siri or something like that to give you the answers," said Principal Coln.

School leaders also had to find other ways to keep parents informed.

Teachers, students and parents have not had access to their school accounts since Monday, Nov. 30, so the school system is using newsletters and even social media to reach out to parents.

District leaders have also turned to alternative platforms such as GroupMe to keep in touch with one another.

Principal Coln said district leaders and principals around the city have a great line of communication, and they're making sure to keep parents informed.

"Right now, we're still being able to reach out to parents even through newsletters and things like that with School Cast. So, we're all up to date and the ones that we're not reaching, we're trying to reach through PTSA, Facebook, any of the social media outlets," said Principal Coln.

He has four kids in the Huntsville City Schools system, so he understands how parents are feeling right now. His advice to them is to be resilient.

Schools are not sure how long they will have to teach without technology or if the days missed last week will have to be made up.

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