Huntsville City Schools printers working overtime following ransomware attack

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Most Huntsville City Schools students are expected to return to in-person learning at schools across the district Monday.

However, the use of education technology will be minimal to non-existent. Friday, the district says it focused on making sure schools had enough printing supplies to support homework and lessons for upwards of 23,000 students.

Students enrolled in Huntsville Virtual Academy and students at home quarantining will not return to school or log into any school devices or accounts. They will though, get traditional homework packets. The Alabama Education Association says the district’s teachers and staff has a massive undertaking in getting the work printed.

“These are unbudgeted expenses if you will. This time of year, no school district would be printing this much paper using this much toner. Those are issues that are just going to have to be absorbed,” said William Tunnell, a director with the Alabama Education Association.

As if 2020 hasn’t been a giant hurdle for teachers, parents, and students, AEA says this ransomware attack is only making a tough situation harder.

“It’s terrible to see a district with some motivated employees moving forward to then have one more obstacle like this,” said Tunnell.

Huntsville City Schools made it clear Wednesday, It doesn’t want families or teachers using their personal printing supplies because of the ransomware attack.

“We don’t want anybody using resources from home. That’s why we are here at school and district leadership level to provide support to teachers. Our goal is to empower teachers in the work they do,” said Craig Williams, a spokesperson for HCS.

Various community members and businesses have attempted to gather printing supplies for HCS. Williams says support is always appreciated but added the district feels they can meet the need right now. However, the district says they will almost always accept community support.

AEA adds, teachers can use all the support the community can offer.

“It would be great, if folks out in the community thinking what can I do for my school? Take them some snacks. Take them something nice. Take them a pack of paper. I’ve seen it firsthand. There’s a lot of work that has gone into this,” said Tunnell.

News 19 is following the HCS ransomware attack closely and will bring you the latest news as it develops.

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