Jackson, Hillsdale county schools closed again Wednesday, Nov. 16

School districts in Jackson and Hillsdale counties will remain closed for the third straight day on Wednesday, Nov. 16, as the Jackson County Intermediate School District works to ensure its system is safe after a ransomware incident shut it down.

Classes across Jackson and Hillsdale counties have been canceled on Monday and Tuesday this week, as the JCISD works with law enforcement, including the FBI, to resolve issues with the ransomware attack Nov. 12-13 that caused the shut down of its technology network system.

While the JCISD has made “tremendous progress” on its restoration efforts, there is still some work to do to ensure every system is safe and secure before bringing them back online, Superintendent Kevin Oxley said in announcing schools in both counties would be closed again Wednesday.

“The security of our learning environment is a top priority and any attempt to rush this process could put our networks at additional risk,” Oxley said in a statement Wednesday.

Students and school employees should continue to refrain from using any school devices until the network is deemed secure, Oxley said.

“We have top cybersecurity experts on site who are continuing to work around the clock to resolve this situation and we hope to have additional updates to share soon,” Oxley said. “We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused and appreciate your patience and understanding.”

Ransomware is a form of malware designed to encrypt files on a device, rendering any files and the systems that rely on them unusable. Malicious actors then demand ransom in exchange for decryption.

The system outage has impacted a wide range of building operations including but not limited to heating, telephones and classroom technology.

Oxley confirmed the ransomware attack is the reason the ISD proactively took systems offline in order to contain the incident.

Despite no classes taking place again on Wednesday, some school districts including Jackson Public Schools have scheduled other activities like cheer and wrestling tryouts, while other sports will have tryouts later in the week.

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