Haverhill Schools Shut Down By Ransomware Attack On Day Some Students Hoped To Return

WBZ TV's Lisa Gresci reports.

Video Transcript

PAULA EBBEN: Hundreds of students in Haverhill are still learning from home today after a cyber attack forced schools in that town to close. Good afternoon. And thanks for being with us, everybody. I'm Paula Ebben.

Disappointment has spread across that district, as school officials work to fix the issue. WBZ's Lisa Gresci has the very latest.

LISA GRESCHI: The superintendent is calling this ransomware attack heartbreaking, as it forced the district to cancel what would have been the first day of school for second, third, and fourth grade students. But some of them didn't get the memo, showing up here to school anyway.

- I just wasn't aware that she didn't have school.

LISA GRESCHI: Third grader Lilliana Burden thinking today was the day she'd be walking through the doors of the Tilton School again.

- I don't like it because I like going to school and seeing my friends.

LISA GRESCHI: The cyber attack pulling the plug on Haverhill Public Schools, email, school brains, Google, and Google Meet all pulled offline. The result, in person and remote learning from pre-K to 12th grade canceled.

- Yesterday, when he tried to enter in the internet, he was crying. When they tried [INAUDIBLE] and he didn't know what [INAUDIBLE]

LISA GRESCHI: Superintendent Margaret Marotta on school property to break some of the news.

MARGARET MAROTTA: We're working on setting up a skeleton system to be able to access our health care information, our food allergies, our home contacts. We really can't have school without those things in place.

LISA GRESCHI: Juan, who is in second grade, wasn't expecting to be turned away.

- I am very mad because we didn't have school.

LISA GRESCHI: Parents just as confused as the kids, left waiting for buses that never showed up.

- I'm so stressed out. It's just not a good start to the day.

LISA GRESCHI: And to know it's because someone hacked their way into the school district's network--

MARGARET MAROTTA: It's scary. I call it very unfortunate and bad timing.

LISA GRESCHI: Thankfully, the school district believes IT pulled the system offline just in time. The district is working with both police and Homeland Security. Today will be treated as a snow day to be made up at the end of the year. As for school tomorrow, it's too soon to know for sure. That announcement is expected later this afternoon. Reporting in Haverhill, Lisa Greschi, WBZ News.