Computer virus knocks East Lyme Schools offline for rest of the week
East Lyme ― Classrooms across town will remain offline for the week after a computer virus led district officials to shut down the internet and collect thousands of staff and student laptops so the hard drives could be wiped clean.
Superintendent of Schools Jeffrey Newton in an email said the virus, which came to the administration’s attention over the weekend when a server malfunctioned, entered the system through a corrupted email.
He said no data was compromised.
“We remotely monitor all servers on a continual basis and caught this virus early,” he said. “Out of an abundance of caution we turned off the internet, then isolated the virus and eradicated it.”
The internet was turned off this weekend, according to the superintendent. On Wednesday, he informed parents in an email that all student devices were being collected for reimaging, which means clearing the existing operating system and installing a fresh one.
Newton said classrooms would be operating offline for the remainder of the week while more than 3,000 devices are updated.
East Lyme High School Principal Deb Roselli Kelly let parents know Wednesday afternoon that teachers would have limited or no access to email and won’t be able to enter grades through the high school’s web-based student information system.
Newton was vague in emailed responses about the specific nature of the computer virus. He declined to answer questions over the phone.
“We don't know what the virus was supposed to do,” he wrote. “We caught it and blocked any possible transmission.”
He said police were not consulted because the computer virus was immediately addressed.
He said the district’s plan for preventing situations like this involves remotely monitoring all servers on a continual basis and encouraging staff members to “maintain caution when opening incoming emails that look suspicious.”