Over 750 kids get week off from Cedar Rapids summer school because of cybersecurity breach
District officials expect regular summer activities to resume on Monday
Cedar Rapids Community School District Educational Support and Leadership Center, 2500 Edgewood Road NW, Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in Cedar Rapids. (Archive photo of the Gazette)
CEDAR RAPIDS: More than 750 children have a week off from summer school due to a cybersecurity violation in the Cedar Rapids community school district.
The district has suspended its summer programming this week, including Kids on Course University, one of Iowa’s largest summer school programs, which offers four-place learning programs for students from all 21 schools. Cedar Rapids primaries, after a cybersecurity incident was discovered over the weekend. .
Tracy Ehlert, a third-grade professor at Kids on Course University at Hoover Community School and a Democratic state lawmaker, said “there are probably people who desperately need alternative arrangements. It’s very short notice.”
School officials were parked at school bus stops Tuesday morning to inform families that summer programming will be canceled this week if they show up, Ehlert said.
Superintendent Noreen Bush said the attack on cybersecurity is a “legal matter” and the district cannot comment on it. “We will communicate logistics with our community as needed,” he said in a text message.
District officials also did not answer questions from The Gazette about why school programs were canceled and whether district officials are working with families to find alternative solutions for child care. School officials have not described the nature of the cyber attack or said what systems were targeted.
With the announcement of the suspension of summer programs on the Cedar Rapids Community School District Facebook page, parents expressed confusion about which programs are affected by the closure. Questions include whether the suspension includes Kids on Course University, Champions daycare, transportation to daycare, and the summer lunch program. The questions went unanswered on the district page.
However, the cybersecurity attack is not expected to disrupt staff payrolls, according to an email sent Monday to school staff by Deputy Superintendent Nicole Kooiker.
Only the payroll department, technology department and district accounting department are expected to show up for work this week, according to an email obtained by The Gazette. Employees have access to their district email account from off-site locations, Kooiker said.
The YMCA day camp program moved its programming to Taft Middle School, 5200 E Ave. NW, at the YMCA in Marion for the rest of the week. Tanisha Phelps, director of child care services at the YMCA, said YMCA staff made the decision to continue providing child care to working families.
“Our biggest concern is making sure families have what they need and that children have a safe place to be,” Phelps said. “We will do whatever it takes to adapt it to families who still need childcare.”
The YMCA summer camp runs weekdays this summer from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Aug. 12. He served 40 children aged 5 to 12 in Taft and 60 children in the Marion YMCA, 3740 Irish Dr. and Marion. .
The Cedar Rapids district also suspended transportation services and cannot transport children to the YMCA day camp program on its weekly field trip, Phelps said.
The district also can’t prepare meals to be distributed around the town of Cedar Rapids ’Rollin’ Recmobile, which brings activities to 13 Cedar Rapids parks during the summer. Snacks will still be available.
The district is working with third-party cybersecurity experts to review non-compliance and take steps to ensure something similar doesn’t happen again, according to a press release Monday.
The high school baseball and softball games scheduled this week are not affected by the cybersecurity violation. District officials expect regularly scheduled summer activities to resume on Monday.
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