Huntsville City Schools announces updates for virtual academy, scheduling, online access after cyber attack

Huntsville City Schools sent out a districtwide update Friday evening.

Posted: Dec 11, 2020 6:19 PM
Updated: Dec 11, 2020 6:26 PM

Huntsville City Schools announced updates Friday evening for its virtual academy, holiday scheduling, progress made after a cyber security attack and coronavirus quarantine guidelines.

Read the full letter from the district below:

Dear HCS Families,

I am writing to provide you with an update surrounding plans for next week as well as the remainder of the semester.

Elementary students in Huntsville Virtual Academy (HVA) will resume online instruction on Monday, December 14. Our IT team is continuing to work diligently for secondary students to resume online instruction as quickly as possible. In order to make this possible, teachers will begin to receive new devices over the next several days. Plans will be communicated by each school.

We are pleased to share students and teachers can now access online platforms including Clever, iNow, Schoology, SchoolsPLP, and Zoom. However, these platforms should not be accessed on HCS devices or on the HCS network. We ask for all high school students and teachers to remain off HCS devices until they are replaced or re-issued.

Speaking of devices, our team is working hard to provide devices to high school students and all teachers as quickly as possible. We aim to have new teacher devices distributed by early next week, and our plan is for high school students to be re-issued devices in January following the winter holidays. As soon as middle and junior high teachers receive new devices, we will immediately resume HVA online instruction for students in grades 6-8.

As you are aware, we are navigating through not only our cybersecurity situation, but also the COVID-19 pandemic as well. As a precautionary measure prior to the winter holidays, our district will engage in remote learning on Monday, December 21 and Tuesday, December 22. Our Child Nutrition Program (CNP) team will serve curbside meals at all schools between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. both those days.

Here are a couple of items worth noting for our high school students. As we have done in previous years, high schools will dismiss early on December 17 and 18. Schools will share plans for how this will work at their respective school campuses. As students across the district engage in remote learning on December 21 and 22, high school students will be provided with assignments with front-loaded materials for next semester. These may include instructional packets, writing assignments, and ACT prep for our older students. High schools will provide families with additional instructions.

Finally, our district is aware of the new isolation and quarantine guidelines released today by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). While 14 days remains the recommended quarantine period, these new guidelines will apply to staff members only who meet the criteria for 10-day return versus the 14-day quarantine periods. At this time, students should continue to quarantine for 14 days.

Thank you for your continued support as we work together to complete this first semester in a strong way, and thank you for supporting Huntsville City Schools.

Very respectfully,

Christie Finley
HCS Superintendent

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