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Little new information on Mars cybersecurity incident

An immediate end to the cybersecurity situation at Mars Area School District is not in sight, according to district spokesperson Josh Schwoebel.

On Tuesday, district superintendent Mark Gross told parents that the shutdown of the district’s Internet network and email system was required because of a “cybersecurity incident.”.

In the announcement, Gross said there was “no evidence” that student or employee records were compromised or are at risk, and added that the district is working with external cybersecurity professionals.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Schwoebel said the district’s online systems were still down, but the phone system and outside programs continued to be usable.

"We don’t have any kind of timeline at this point,” Schwoebel said. “We have meetings every day to discuss what is going on. Any updates, if we get an update when things are coming back up, we will be putting things in a letter to parents.”

Schwoebel said classes are continuing during the day, albeit without the use of Internet programs.

“The teachers are teaching kids as usual, and we are just trying to get by without all of the technology that we typically use everyday,” he said. “We are kind of in a holding pattern, just waiting to see when things are going on.”

The district’s SchoolMessenger alert system is not affected, nor is the Schoology program students use to complete their homework, Schwoebel added.

“We don’t have Internet service here, so they can’t access that from school, but when they are at home, they can access their assignments that are posted,” he said. “It is mainly just the district’s networks, and other things tied to that.”

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