A computer virus discovered earlier this week put Modesto City Schools-issued devices on lockdown until at least Thursday, a district official said.
For the second straight day, staff and students Wednesday afternoon were asked to remain off their devices after a virus discovered early Tuesday morning essentially shut down all essential services a day earlier.
That includes the 15,000 HP 360 laptops issued to high school students this summer as part of the district's plan to increase student engagement and give them access to digital resources that would strengthen their computer skills.
"We are making progress," Becky Fortuna, the district's spokeswoman, said in a message sent to students, parents and staff and posted to the agency's Facebook Page late Wednesday afternoon. "We have begun bringing systems back online at our datacenter, but it's a process. We are using an abundance of caution to prevent spreading the virus."
She said once all is deemed safe, each site – schools, administration and support – will be brought back one at a time.
The devices, she said, include laptops, computers and Surface Pros, which are used by some staff.
Fortuna said while district uses technology to enhance the educational experience of students, the district's "not dependent on technology in our traditional classrooms."
She said teachers have been using supplemental materials – like textbooks or novels – in the classroom to avoid any disruptions.
"Technology does not take the place of teachers," she said.
Cloud-based Schoology for grade and assignment information remains accessible to students and parents, although it's not been updated. PowerSchool, a similar learning management system, can't be accessed.
Fortuna said technology-dependent classes tied to extended summer school or other "credit-recovery methods" have been affected. Extended summer school classes were canceled Tuesday and Wednesday.
In a 9:15 a.m. email to district staff Wednesday, Cindy Minter, director of information and technology services for the district, said the virus hit at about 5:30 p.m. on Monday. Staff became aware of the issue early Tuesday morning.
She wrote that while "many of the District’s applications and services are now back online in the Datacenter, all District devices are to remain shut down until further notice."
She further stated: "Although the District’s student data (PowerSchool/MOSIS) and business data are unaffected, there was some loss to staff/student data files. Data files stored in Office 365 OneDrive and Google Drive are unaffected by this computer virus."
She said her staff is working with Microsoft "to ensure that once the District network connections are re-established between the school/support sites to the District’s Datacenter that the computer virus will not spread again."
Fortuna said Minter would send out another update Thursday morning.
Fortuna, who said she didn't know the name of the particular virus, said staff, parents and students have been patient through it all.
Some, though, have expressed concern about their child's ability to access homework. Another was worried about the impending Thursday night application deadline for University of California and California State University schools, and whether that might impede a school's ability to send any documentation, if needed.
Any questions regarding college applications should be directed toward a school's college counselor.
"This is a major headache, but not a tragedy," Fortuna said. "We're keeping things in perspective. You've heard of major corporations going through this ... nobody is immune."