Last April, Jefferson County Schools suffered from a ransomware attack while students were on spring break. Now, as schools prepare to welcome students back for the new school year on Tuesday, the school system is still recovering.

The school system released a statement following the April attack saying officials did not believe the attack breached any sensitive information and the system would be taking down its network out of precaution. 

The system also consulted cybersecurity experts and law enforcement to conduct an investigation. However, it is not clear if law enforcement was able to discern the origin of the attack. 1819 News contacted a Jefferson County Schools official on Friday to ask for an update about the investigation but did not receive a response.

After spring break, students still returned to school as scheduled, though the absence of a network barred them from using the internet and classroom technology such as Chromebooks and ViewSonics. 

During the first week back from spring break, Jefferson County superintendent Walter Gonsoulin said in a video statement the school system was “slowly and diligently working through” the process and thanked parents for their patience. 

By the end of the week, the school system restored phone service to the main line of all 57 schools and restored limited connectivity to 50 facilities solely for Alabama Comprehensive Assessment Program testing. Connectivity remained limited for the rest of the school year.

The school system declared the attack an emergency the following week, permitting Gonsoulin to direct funding to issues spurred by the attack, according to WBRC

Now, five months later, the school system still faces issues. Though the network has been rebuilt, and children will be able to use classroom technology upon returning to school, the school system is still testing cybersecurity protocols to fend off a potential attack in the future.

Nevertheless, Gonsoulin told the press on Wednesday that Jefferson County students would “probably not know” that the school system is still recovering from the attack because the classroom will be back to normal.

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