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Academic Calendar and Cyber Update

Good Afternoon FUSD Families -

 

Two weeks ago, the Flagstaff Unified School District was hit by ransomware which impacted its systems and operations.  The decision to close schools for two days was not taken lightly and we appreciate your patience for this unprecedented event.  Two of the make-up days on the academic calendar will be used to replace those missed school days on September 5-6, meaning that all FUSD schools will be in session on April 27 and April 28.

 

The ransomware attack was originally reported by employees on the morning of Wednesday, September 4, 2019 and FUSD Technology staff immediately took steps to identify and contain the issue that was locking the district out of systems.  Throughout the day, systems were taken offline to ensure that data could not be breached and removed outside of FUSD’s systems. A decision was made in the afternoon to cut internet connectivity - removing key functionalities within the district that included a number of security and information systems used to run schools on a daily basis.  The inability to communicate between sites and have redundancy in our safety systems resulted in the cancellation of schools.

 

From September 4 through the return of school on the following Monday, September 9, Technology and FUSD team members worked around the clock to return priority systems to normal operations which were essential for a school day.  This meant checking, resetting, and continuing to update security protocols for all Windows based computers in the district while also working to preserve data. This massive effort meant that FUSD was able to minimize data loss and not pay a ransom for the return of systems.  

 

We are grateful to technology staff from community partners Northern Arizona University, Coconino Community College, Yavapai College, Nestle Purina, and NAIPTA Mountain Line for assisting on this issue with Team FUSD.  Their efforts and support truly highlight the incredible ways the Flagstaff community supports one another in times of need.

 

Sincerely,

 

Michael Penca

Superintendent