HAVERHILL (CBS) — Hundreds of Haverhill students returned to the classroom on Friday after the district’s computer system was hit in a ransomware attack, forcing them to cancel school on Thursday.
Kindergarten through fourth grade went back while the middle and high schools are still remote.
Students are returning here to Tilton Elementary in #Haverhill after a cyberattack pulled the plug on the first day of school yesterday. You can see some of them are running in and very excited! Hear from parents and students on @wbz at noon! & #CBSN pic.twitter.com/GdIDrFcRjm
— Lisa Gresci (@Lisa_Gresci) April 9, 2021
According to Superintendent Margaret Marotta, the attack could have been much worse since hackers only gained access to about 140 computers.
“Our issue at this point is not, either expertise or manpower, it simply takes time to do the work slowly and methodically,” Marotta said at Thursday night’s school committee meeting.
The internet is still down, but there will be hot spots at each school so they can operate.
The IT department is working around the clock to fix the issue. The district is working with cyber-security agencies, the FBI, and Haverhill Police.
“I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have school because they are tacking in on to the end of the year where they would rather be home,” said one mom. “But I’m glad she’s back today, she gets to be with her friends.”
Another mom added, “It was pretty scary, thinking about it as well because they shut everything down yesterday. From my knowledge, I think it’s still down but they’re doing paperwork with them and stuff like that…Yesterday was pretty disappointing, but we’re back so she’s happy.”
Some students and parents still showed up to schools on Thursday, unaware of the attack.
“I’m disappointed too, I mean we become educators because we love children and it’s been a tough year for those who enjoy this work because of the children,” Marotta said Thursday.
Parents of elementary school students were asked to send a note in their child’s backpack on Friday with a contact number and the child’s mode of transportation home.