Lynn Public Schools still without Internet; MCAS testing postponed two days

LYNN Lynn Public Schools is still without Internet and, because of it, the high schools’ MCAS testing was postponed two days.

Last Wednesday, the administration was made aware of a computer virus in the high schools and some of the elementary schools and shut down all Internet to keep the virus from spreading. The city’s high schools were set to take the MCAS exams online Tuesday and Wednesday, but the Department of Education OK’d a switch to take them on paper on Thursday and Friday.

“We petitioned with the Department of Education to allow the high schools to take it on paper,” said Superintendent Patrick Tutwiler. “They agreed because they knew there was no way our students could take the exams electronically when we currently have no Internet.”

The administration’s Information Technology department was making progress but, according to Tutwiler, the virus is “pretty aggressive.” On Monday, they filed an insurance claim and hired help from a third party cyber security company.

The security company is expected to not only fix the virus, but also determine where and how it started, Tutwiler said.

“Yes, it is a heavy lift in such a quick period of time to get ready for the paper exams, but it’s not unfamiliar territory,” he said. “The students don’t know anything different. They know the paper exams and, two years ago, our 10th-graders did take the MCAS online.”

Tutwiler said teachers, students, and the administration have shown incredible patience and teamwork throughout the entire process. It calls for a celebration on how everyone has been creative and resourceful in their ideas to keep the learning going, he said.

“Viruses happen,” said Tutwiler. “You figure things out, it gets fixed, and it comes back on. I’m amazed by the work everyone has done.”

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