Park Hill School District cancels school due to malware attack

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Park Hill School District has canceled all classes for Monday after a malware attack compromised needed computer systems.

The school district sent an email to families early Monday morning with the news that both online and in-person classes would not be held. Other than administration and custodians, no one should go to school.

Kids already waiting at the bus stop were picked up and kept safe and warm until parents were notified, the district said in a phone call to families.

District leaders held a news conference Monday morning to provide an update. You can watch the entire news conference in the video player below.

Many families were having problems getting into Schoology, one of several online platforms the district uses for homework and online learning. By 4:30 a.m. Monday it looked like everything was fixed, but by 6 a.m. they uncovered a new problem, forcing the district to cancel.

Park Hill Superintendent Dr. Jeanette Cowherd said so much of the school day relies on technology that it wasn’t safe for students to attend.

Now the district — and the Federal Bureau of Investigation — is actively investigating what happened to cause the malware attack. At this time, they don’t think this incident is connected to a broader cyber attack, but leaders would not say if they’ve been asked to pay a ransom to fix the problem.

The district is hopeful that precautions and safety systems already in place will meant that no student or staff personal information was exposed during the attack.

Cowherd said the district will notify parents by 6 p.m. Monday on whether it will be able to hold classes Tuesday.

Here’s the full email the district sent to parents early Monday:

Dear Park Hill family,

We apologize for the late notice, but we must cancel school in Park Hill today for both in-person and online students and teachers.

We experienced an attack on our computer systems, known as a malware attack. Our technology team worked through the entire night, but we have just learned that we do not have the needed systems in place to have school.

Our schools and offices will be closed. Administrators and custodians should report to work, but everyone else should stay home.

Park Hill School District

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