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No Major Problems Reported In First Day Back For Virtual Learning In Baltimore County

Baltimore County Public Schools

According to Baltimore County school officials, students and teachers were able to pick up Wednesday where they left off after last week’s cyberattack that brought down the schools’ computer system and cancelled classes. 

Students have to log on to virtual learning a new way to work around the computer crash. Melissa DiDonato, who oversees 16 elementary schools on the county’s west side, said if teachers did not see a student logged on Wednesday, they let administrators know.

“And administrators were contacting the families to then walk them through right away to try to get those students connected in case there were any issues,” DiDonato said.

She said student attendance was good Wednesday at the schools she monitors, adding she is optimistic how the rest of the week is going to go.

“If we started this well on Wednesday, I think by Friday the teachers who might be working with a different type of device are going to be even more comfortable with it,” DiDonato said. “Students who might have needed an extra set of hands or extra guidance getting in on day one, will be proficient and independent by day three.”

Cindy Sexton, president of TABCO, the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, said once the teachers got in their groove it was another day at school.

“People have mostly been able to find a way to make it work connecting with their students,” Sexton said.

Meanwhile, some teachers don’t know yet if they have lost lesson plans that took them countless hours to create, according to Sexton.

“And just not knowing if they’re going to be there when we come out on the other side of this is very concerning,” she said.

Schools spokesman Charles Herndon would not provide further details about what has been lost, citing the ongoing criminal investigation into who launched the ransomware attack.

The cyberattack was launched the night of November 24. Classes were canceled for three days before resuming Wednesday.

On Thursday, parents, students and staff who need technical support  can submit a ticket and call the help desk.

You can find details about that, as well as how to get your device checked out for any problems at BCPS.org.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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