The return to remote learning this fall came with system outages, cyberattacks and other problems

For the dozens of school districts forced to kick off the new academic year with online learning, the remote classrooms have come with their own set of challenges.


For the dozens of school districts forced to kick off the new academic year with online learning, the remote classrooms have come with their own set of challenges.

Schools across the country have reported system outages, cyberattacks and other issues that prompted some districts to postpone the first day of class.

The COVID-19 pandemic drove many U.S. education leaders to opt for virtual learning, hoping it could help curb an already rampant spread of the virus.

Across the country, more than 6.3 million people have been infected with the coronavirus, and while many parts of the US saw their cases plateau over the past month, experts warn that the fall and winter will likely bring another surge of cases, piled on to flu season.

In Texas, the Houston Independent School District's website was down Tuesday as more than 200,000 students began virtual learning.

"In this unprecedented school year, we must remain flexible and quickly adapt to changing conditions and circumstances like we noticed this morning," HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan said in a statement.

Houston schools are far from the only ones facing challenges as students return to virtual school.

Miami-Dade schools cyberattacks traced to several countries

The Miami-Dade school district has already seen dozens of cyberattacks, according to the superintendent.

Last week, school officials announced a 16-year-old student had been arrested and charged in connection with several of the attacks. The student, officials said, admitted to orchestrating eight attacks.

The teen's computer and gaming system were taking into evidence, Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Edwin Lopez said, adding it's unclear if the student was working alone.

Officials say they believe there are other attackers. The most recent cyberattack, which the arrested student was not behind, took place Thursday morning.

Some of the IP addresses involved in the attacks have been traced back to Russia, Ukraine, China and Iraq, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said. It's unclear if there are attackers physically in those countries, but school officials said they're working with international authorities in their investigations.

Virginia, Connecticut schools respond to problems

In Virginia, the Arlington Public School district faced systemwide technical challenges on its first day back to school on Tuesday, leaving many students unable to connect to their classrooms online.

The problem was traced to the large volume of traffic trying to access Microsoft Teams at once, Superintendent Dr. Francisco Duran said.

The school district later improved performance, Duran said.

Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut postponed in-person classes and online learning, citing a ransomware virus that caused an outage of systems in the network infrastructure. Officials are working to restore the system.

"Everyone at Hartford Public Schools was ready to welcome back our beautiful and capable students in person and remotely. We will provide updates when we have additional information to share," a statement published on the district's website read.