A Publication of the Affton School District
Update for Families & Staff | February 25, 2021
Dear Affton Families, Students, and Staff,
Just after 6:30 a.m. today, Thursday, February 25, 2021, we discovered a ransomware attack affecting network, phone, and internet access across all of our schools that had the potential to disable systems and district devices. In a short period of time, over 20 teacher and staff devices were disabled as they logged into the district network before school. Had schools remained open, the potential for further compromise was considerable.
This ransomware attack has also severely limited our ability to communicate within the district without phone or internet access. Rest assured, the decision to hold an emergency virtual learning day would not have been made if it were solely a simple internet outage. As we learned earlier this week with two emergency early dismissals due to water main breaks, being able to fully communicate with our families is essential.
Please know that our Technology Team is continuing to investigate the issue, but here is what we know:
- We currently do not have access to the district network, internet, intercoms, or phone system.
- Personal devices (including cell phones) and Chromebooks should not be affected -- even if they had been connected to WiFi while at school.
- We do not believe any sensitive information has been accessed and no personal data, financial information, or grades have been found to be compromised. As a routine layer of protection, this information is stored on offsite servers.
- All district Chromebooks, laptops, or devices will work from home or away from school, as will email, Tyler SIS, Canvas, and Google tools (Drive, Meets, etc).
We know today has been very challenging and we sincerely apologize for the very late notice to our families and staff, as well as for the inconvenience and disruption it has caused. We understand and share your feelings of frustration.
As we continue to learn more, we will share additional information. We hope to be able to welcome in-person learners back to school as quickly as possible and will provide another update this evening.
Truly, we cannot overstate how much we appreciate each of you -- our families, students, and staff -- in a school year that continues to bring uncertainty and unwelcome surprises.
Dr. Travis Bracht