Neenah schools closed as cybersecurity investigation continues

NEENAH – Officials at Neenah’s school are unsure whether students will be able to resume classes this week after a technological systems breach forced them to close the school on Tuesday.

Without working phones, which were affected by the breach, administrators believe it would be dangerous to run the school in person. And given the Internet and software outages, virtual school is impossible.

Local and federal law enforcement continued to investigate the incident on Tuesday, although few additional details were reported.

The incident began around 5:30 a.m. Monday, when the district technology team began receiving calls about the failure of email and other software.

Superintendent Mary Pfeiffer said the tech team realized there had been potentially unauthorized access to the district’s system by a third party. As they continued to review the situation, there were internet and phone crashes, as well as crashes in other software used by the district.

Following:Neenah schools will be closed on Tuesday due to a “technological security situation” that has shut down the internet and telephone systems

When the district canceled the school, he said the hope was to reunite with the children in person on Wednesday.

Pfeiffer said the disruption of phone service is a safety concern enough to cause schools to close.

“Our communication system is essential to provide a safe environment for everyone,” said Pfeiffer.

Without working phones, schools cannot call parents if their child becomes ill, and parents cannot call to notify of a family emergency, for example.

Pfeiffer added that teachers are using technology to supplement their lessons and store plans and information about what they will cover in their lessons.

Even before the pandemic, schools in Neenah were using technology to make e-learning days that would otherwise have been snowy days, but students cannot access what they would normally need for school. from a distance.

Around noon on Tuesday, Pfeiffer said they were still waiting for systems restore and other next steps in the investigation.

Neenah Police Chief Aaron Olson told The Post-Crescent he had no additional information and had spoken with the school district.

The hope is that the phones will work again so the students can come back on Wednesday, Pfeiffer said, but it would be ideal to have access to internal software again.

Another message would be sent to families later Tuesday to let them know whether or not students can come back on Wednesday.

Pfeiffer said there was no reason to believe any confidential or personal information had been compromised.

Neenah’s tech team trained staff on phishing and explained the importance of changing passwords and being careful when clicking links.

As the district deals with this situation, she said, the greatest help people can offer is to be patient.

Contact AnnMarie Hilton at [email protected] or 920-370-8045. Follow her on Twitter at @hilton_annmarie.

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