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Stilley: Classes will begin as scheduled Aug. 12

Stilley: Classes will begin as scheduled Aug. 12

Author: Action News 17/Thursday, August 1, 2019/Categories: Front Page, Latest Stories

AMITE—Slowly but surely, computers across the Tangipahoa Parish School System’s network are coming back online, and on Thursday, School Superintendent Melissa Stilley said she is confident classes will be able to begin Aug. 12, as planned.

“There is no doubt we will be back and ready to welcome our students on campus Aug. 12, as scheduled,” Stilley said.

The district is one of several public school systems across Louisiana that were targeted in a cybersecurity attack in late July. Leaders described the computer issue as one designed to “paralyze” the network.

“As we understand it, the masterminds behind this attack are not going after actual personal information or identity-theft markers. They simply want to bring day-to-day operations to a screeching halt by disabling our computer system,” Stilley said.

On Thursday, district technology leaders continued working with the Louisiana National Guard and a team from Unity Fiber to check the network and bring it back online piece-by-piece.

“Our team has worked around the clock, diligently piecing the network back together in the aftermath of this weekend's cybersecurity threat,” Stilley said.

While the cyberattack did impact phone lines and computer service at the Central Office and at schools across the parish, Stilley said the district has made great progress in tackling this challenge head-on over the course of the week.

“We are resilient, and we are going to get past this issue. The good news is we have off-site backups of all student data. Schedules have been completed; class rosters are ready, and once our printers are back online, they can be distributed. All bus routes are completed, and those rosters will be printer-ready once the network is online. All in all, we are more than ready for classes to start on the 12th,” Stilley said.

Additionally, the Hammond-based registration center is open and accepting new students. The Amite center will soon be brought back online.

Aside from the computer-related challenges, Stilley said the district is quickly gearing up for classes to start. Meet and greet activities are scheduled across the parish, and several schools are having beautification events to get their campuses spruced up for the start of classes. Things will get even busier when nine-month employees return to campus next Tuesday.

“At the end of the day, we all have our eye on the prize—and that means doing whatever it takes to be ready to welcome our students on the 12th,” Stilley said.

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