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Toledo Public Schools: Cyberattack causes internet problems for lessons held online

Outages were reported the first day of online learning, and at least one school reported the internet having a 'melt down.' FBI and a cybersecurity team are helping.

TOLEDO, Ohio — According to leaders with the Toledo Public School district, school will be held as scheduled for Wednesday after a cyberattack upended online learning for many district students and teachers on the first day of virtual learning Tuesday.

Toledo Public Schools leaders asked families to work with them and be patient as the first day brought challenges to some students and teachers.

A statement from TPS on Tuesday afternoon said: 

"Toledo Public Schools had a great start to the 2020-21 school year. This morning, teachers connected with students and online learning started. Staff stepped up to help parents and students with technology questions and our neighborhood food distribution began. 

"Unfortunately, just before noon, the district suffered an unavoidable cyberattack and because of that, internet connectivity and email has been disrupted. Our IT staff is working diligently to restore service and we expect that to happen yet today.

"Other large urban districts across the country have dealt with similar issues today. We have contacted the FBI and a local cybersecurity team to ensure our systems are secure."

Anyone having issues with remote learning can contact the TPS Student Assistance Hotline or Educational Technology Support.

For some TPS parents, Monday was smooth sailing with no connection issues.

Others say they had tech problems logging in and starting their first day of school.

A note from Toledo Technology Academy said on Tuesday, the internet "crashed and burned," calling it a "melt down today." 

"Unfortunately, not everything went smoothly, and this afternoon the internet crashed and burned. It was restored about 1:30, but that was too late for many students who checked out. We totally understand and appreciate your patience. The problem was NOT on your end; it was on ours.

"Apparently the problem may be more wide-spread than just locally. There are reports on-line that internet service was down in multiple locations.

"Wednesday is a no class day, so hopefully the problem(s) can be sorted out and rectified by Thursday at 9AM.

"Thanks for your patience and understanding. This is a new experience for everyone."

TPS leaders say they've been preparing for weeks for the rollout on online classes, and acknowledged that internet could cause some problems across the district on the first day of the "red light" plan.

"The main challenges are many things that are technical. I tell people this is going to be one of the most massive online demand of WiFi, anywhere out of NW Ohio out of one institution, " TPS Superintendent Dr. Romules Durant said. 

In addition to Toledo Technology Academy, Beverly Elementary also posted on social media this morning that internet connection was down, meaning teachers and students were not able to log into their classrooms.

"There are going to be some blips along the road, but we'll work together through that. Be patient with us, make that connect with your teacher, and we'll ensure your child is educated," said Jim Gault, Executive Transformational Leader of Curriculum and Instruction with TPS. 

Other parents say they didn't have login information for iReady or didn't have their codes to log into classes.

But that wasn't the case for everyone.

Some parents tell WTOL 11 that for the most part, everything went well.

Mindy Lawrence said "it's been great," aside from some minor computer issues to start the day.

Parent Kamesha Jones also had kind words for TPS educators, saying, "all the teachers are doing great."

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS PLEASE READ AND PASS ON / SHARE Before schoo... l begins on Tuesday, here is some important information that needs to reach all TTA students and parents. It will be posted in various formats and locations. ON-LINE SCHEDULE Please see the on-line schedule posted on here (post below).