Ransomware Attack Updates

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January 6, 2021

Dear BCPS Community,

As we head into the 2021 school year, I wanted to provide an update on the ransomware attack we sustained in November. I’m pleased to inform you that the third-party experts with whom we’ve been working have confirmed that there is no evidence that any data was accessed or stolen.

While we have shared that information before, the fact that trusted outside investigators who do this work full-time have come to that same conclusion should give us all added comfort.

In terms of our restoration efforts, while there is still work to be done, I have more good news to share. We were able to gain access to our first quarter grades from Schoology – which means that report cards will be issued on time and transcripts can be generated for college applicants and transfer candidates as usual. I know that, for many parents and students in our community, this has been a real concern – but rest assured that if your child is applying to college, transferring schools, or just otherwise advancing their education, we will be able to support and serve you just as we were prior to this attack. I’m hopeful this news can make 2021 at least somewhat less stressful than the past year has been.

Equally important for those with students in our special needs community, our IEP system is fully functional as it was on November 1st, so all IEPs saved prior to November 1st have also been restored. In simple terms, this will ensure that we can continue to provide quality education and care to our students with special needs without further disruption.

As we look towards 2021, I know the security of our systems and data is an ongoing concern for many in our community. Allow me to share some words of encouragement on that front as well: we have taken the important step of deploying state-of-the-art endpoint detection monitoring to protect against these types of threats in the future. While the security landscape is often-changing, I am confident that, like many other organizations that have been through this kind of crisis, we will emerge from it more resilient with hardened cybersecurity defenses and infrastructure.

I would like to close this message on a note of gratitude and optimism. No doubt, 2020 has tested our collective resolve. But the resilience of our students, teachers, and school-based staff is clear. This incident has put a strain on our entire community, and I want to personally thank all of you for your patience and understanding as we have worked to put this behind us.

As we re-engage in virtual learning this week, I have every confidence that our future – and the future of our students – is bright, and that whatever challenges 2021 may bring, we will overcome them together.

Thank you,

Darryl L. Williams, Ed.D.


January 4-5, 2021

There are no updates for today.

December 23, 2020

There are no updates for today.

December 22, 2020

Second marking period interim grades are available for parents to check in Schoology using your child's BCPS credentials.

Elementary Conference Day has been rescheduled for Wednesday, January 13, 2021. This will be an asynchronous, or independent learning day for students. If a teacher has already held a conference with a student's family, it is not necessary to hold a second conference on this date. Systemwide Professional Learning for secondary department chairs and special area teachers will continue as scheduled.

We are continuing to work through the process to provide report cards for the end of the second marking period and first semester. Additional details and professional learning will be forthcoming following winter break.

High school student device reimaging will continue from January 5 through January 19, 2021 by appointment only. Please see all of the information on the updated schedule. Students will make an appointment using a link that principals will send tomorrow, Wednesday, December 23.

Staff received an email earlier today about paycheck pick-up, which will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, December 23, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m. at West Towson Elementary School.

December 21, 2020

We have updates tonight about device reimaging for teachers, magnet assessments, sports, and payroll.

Device reimaging: Device reimaging is taking place for teachers tomorrow, Tuesday, December 22 and Wednesday, December 23 at nine high schools: Carver, Catonsville, Dundalk, Franklin, Hereford, Lansdowne, Kenwood, Milford Mill and Perry Hall.

Magnet assessments: Virtual magnet assessments will take place during February 2021. Families will be notified of magnet admission decisions on April 5, instead of March 5. Before assessment windows open, we will share any requirements online so that students and families may review the assessment criteria in advance.

Sports: Due to current COVID-19 metrics in Baltimore County, the winter athletic season will remain suspended through winter break, with the spring virtual season continuing through January 29, 2021. The BCPS Office of Athletics and BCPS leadership will continue to monitor these metrics and consult with the Baltimore County Department of Health to determine when in-person athletics may begin. Online registration for winter athletics will remain open through schools. Additional information will be provided to students and families after winter break.

Payroll: For staff, there is a payroll letter for salaried employees now available in the BCPS News Hub.

December 18, 2020

On Monday, December 21, three days’ worth of student meals will be provided at more than 300 locations. BCPS meal distribution will resume on Monday, January 4.

The rest of this message is for families wishing to enroll in BCPS. Please share this information widely. Beginning Monday, December 21, parents/guardians wishing to enroll students in our schools may begin the enrollment process by submitting an online application through our new Focus Parent Portal. After entering basic registration information, parents/guardians will be contacted by the school to finalize enrollment. Parents/guardians can learn more about using the Focus Parent Portal by viewing the informational video. The password for the video is Baltimore.

December 17, 2020

Here are some updates about device reimaging. Teachers may come tomorrow, Friday, December 18, through next Wednesday, December 23. Eleventh and 12th grade students are scheduled for Wednesday. For times, please see the updated schedule. There will be more opportunities for our remaining students and staff to swap their devices after the break, and that schedule will be shared next week.

As a clarification to yesterday’s message about report cards, principals cannot generate reports for students in Preschool through 3rd grade. All families can continue to login to Schoology using your child's BCPS credentials to view student grades.

For staff, there is information in the BCPS News Hub about payroll. Also, the Office of Benefits, Leaves, and Retirements has provided an FAQ about 403(b) and 457(b) plans.

December 16, 2020

We have a reminder and a few updates on our progress.

  • December 23: The two-hour early dismissal on Wednesday, December 23 is for students only. Schools will follow a Thursday schedule of live virtual instruction on December 23.

  • Report cards and transcripts: We understand that our current inability to produce report cards poses a challenge for our families. Currently, principals can share marking period 1 grades from Schoology upon family request. We continue to actively work on a systemic solution. As soon as we have a solution, we will communicate with our families and move forward with printed report cards and transcripts. Seniors should continue to work with their school counselor regarding questions related to college applications.

  • Magnet assessments: Staff are working with schools to host the annual magnet assessments virtually. The assessment window will be adjusted, as the initial magnet guidelines were to be posted online on November 30, 2020. Prior to the new assessment windows opening, BCPS will post the requirements on our website and communicate widely so that students and families may review the assessment criteria in advance. Additional information will be forthcoming.

  • Payroll: For all staff, payroll is continuing. Please check for a separate email about payroll. It may come through later tonight.

December 15, 2020

Due to the impending inclement weather, there will be no device reimaging on Wednesday, December 16, or Thursday, December 17. BCPS will resume device reimaging on Friday, December 18.

In addition, BCPS is restructuring the device swap process to provide a better experience for students and staff. Friday’s schedule will be a voluntary opportunity for elementary teachers to receive a swap device.

Student reimaging will resume on Monday, December 21. The schedule for student and additional staff reimaging will be posted on Friday, December 18.

December 14, 2020

We have an update on student meals due to expected inclement weather this week. Student meals will be available at more than 300 sites tomorrow, Tuesday, December 15. Meals will be provided for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Meals will not be distributed on Wednesday.

The rest of this message is for benefit-eligible employees who want to add, drop, or change coverage to begin on January 1, 2021. You must submit a new enrollment form. If you do not need to make changes, you can disregard.

Due to the ransomware attack, the benefits office does not have access to any elections made during open enrollment from October 12 through November 15. As a result, we are holding an open enrollment period from tomorrow, December 15, through Wednesday, December 30. Look for tonight's email to staff about the December Open Enrollment period, along with an FAQ and the Open Enrollment Form.

December 11, 2020

*Updated to add:

About the HP device replacements/re-imaging:

  • There will be more opportunities to replace your device.

  • If you are a BCPS staff and parent, or if you have multiple children, choose one day.

  • We understand that students may not have their ID.


At this point in our recovery from the ransomware attack, we may have few updates as staff are digging deeply into systems and solutions. Going forward, we will only provide updates as they arise.

If your caller ID indicates that BCPS calls are “Potential Spam,” you can add the phone number (410-887-4281) to your Contacts.

The rest of this message is for staff members and students who have an HP or Windows-based device from BCPS (not a Chromebook).

For all students and staff with a BCPS HP device, please come to any BCPS high school during the dates and times on the BCPS Device Reimaging Schedule to have your device replaced from Monday, December 14 through Wednesday, December 23. You will trade in your device and receive a re-imaged device that has extra protection. This is an important step in our recovery. You will not get your device back. There is more information on the Re-Imaging Schedule.

December 10, 2020

On social media, our schools and staff are not only sharing what students are learning in class, they are also sharing activities that build community, including opportunities to give back. We appreciate how you are coming together despite the challenges of these times.

Our work to recover from the ransomware attack continues, but there are no updates today.

Finally, salaried employees and substitute teachers are asked to please check your email for information about tomorrow’s payroll.

December 9, 2020

Our tech support help desk is now open from Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. through 4:15 p.m. The phone number is 443-809-4672.

We hear your questions about report cards, but due to the ransomware attack, we cannot provide report cards and transcripts at this time. Staff are working hard on a solution. For now, parents can log into Schoology through your child’s account to view grades.

Tonight’s announcements are for staff:

  • We are aware that scammers are trying to benefit from the ransomware attack by claiming that they have your personal data and demanding money. If you are contacted, keep any evidence, whether it’s a phone number, email address, text message, a piece of mail, or a social media screenshot. If it’s a phone call, hang up immediately. In all cases, report the incident to 911.

  • Finally, staff are asked to please check your email for instructions about resetting your passwords for Google and Office365 by Friday, December 18.

December 8, 2020

As pleased as we are with the progress that we’ve made so far in our recovery from the ransomware attack, especially in terms of resuming instruction, it’s important for everyone to understand that we have a long way to go.

It was a catastrophic attack because it impacted all systems, and our long-term solutions will take some time. We have only gotten this far because our staff are so dedicated. We are on the right road, but there are still questions that we can’t answer due to the investigation and because we are still working through issues. We ask for your patience as we move forward.

Tonight’s announcement is for high schools:

  • Each high school will offer the PSAT for 11th grade students on Tuesday, January 26, 2021. This is not required. This is an option that allows students to qualify for college scholarships based on their PSAT score.

  • For high schools, January 26 will be an asynchronous or independent learning day. Mid-terms and final exams should be scheduled to accommodate PSAT Day.

  • If your 11th grader would like to take the PSAT, please complete the PSAT Participation and Transportation Form by next Wednesday, December 16. The form is also available on the BCPS home page under “For students and families.”

December 7, 2020

Our students and teachers are actively reengaged in learning. Our student attendance is returning to levels from before the cyber-attack.

We do have announcements from today’s joint press conference with county officials:

  • Please note that the ransomware investigation is ongoing, but at this point, we have no evidence of data theft or exfiltration.

  • We have several partners supporting us in the investigation of the attack and recovery from it. We are working with local and federal law enforcement, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, the State Department of Information Technology, our insurance provider and its investigators, and again the County Executive and his team have provided support from the very beginning of the attack.

As always, we can’t thank you enough for your patience and flexibility, and we can’t thank our staff enough, as they continue to problem-solve and move us forward.

December 4, 2020

As we end our third day of instruction following the cyber-attack, the resilience of our students, teachers, and school-based staff is clear. The proof can be seen as you view posts shared on school social media accounts.

In addition, here are just a few accomplishments from around the school system.

  • All core instructional resources are available for teachers and students for English language arts, math, science, social studies, health, PE, and fine arts.

  • We are still working on supplemental resources.

  • Teachers are sharing resources and lesson plans with colleagues from across the county.

  • Students are using their voices in positive ways.

  • Meal distribution continued on Monday and Wednesday.

  • And our principals and IT staff worked together to check student and staff devices.

This has only been possible because of teamwork. Thank you to everyone who worked through the holiday and weekend to make this progress, as well as long hours this week, especially our technology and curriculum staff. We are continuing to work through some issues and we will continue to make progress.

Have a great weekend!

December 3, 2020

We are hearing from schools that our second day of instruction has gone well. Our staff are working hard on providing access to more instructional tools as well as training.

  • SAT: Nine BCPS high schools will offer the SAT this Saturday, December 5. Those high schools are: Catonsville, Eastern Tech, Kenwood, Loch Raven, Milford Mill Academy, New Town, Parkville, Perry Hall, and Randallstown.

  • Sports: Due to the increasing COVID-19 infection rates across Baltimore county, the winter athletic season, previously scheduled to start on Monday, December 7, is postponed until further notice. Online registration for winter athletics will remain open through schools. Virtual athletics will continue. Additional information will be provided to students and families as conditions permit. We are continuing to monitor health metrics along with our county medical partners and will share any plans to offer in-person opportunities when the health metrics allow us to do so.

We can’t thank you enough for your partnership as we cope with both COVID-19 and the ransomware attack.

December 2, 2020

Thank you to our families and staff for working together so well on our first instructional day after the attack. Schools are sharing success stories, but we are also aware of and addressing issues. As always, please reach out to your school for assistance.

  • Tech support: Starting tomorrow, you will be able to submit a tech support ticket.

  • Not impacted by attack: Your personal device was not impacted by the cyber attack. The websites for each of our schools and offices were not affected.

  • Parent access to Schoology: We know that parents and caregivers cannot access Schoology at and we are working on that. Parents may be able to use the Schoology mobile app but that access could expire. For any questions about grades and performance, we ask that parents please reach out to your child’s teachers and school leaders.

  • Device checks for students and school-based staff: Please bring the power cord. Replacements will be Chromebooks. Thursday, December 3, and Friday, December 4, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at six high schools:

  • Catonsville High School

  • Hereford High School

  • Kenwood High School

  • Milford Mill Academy

  • Patapsco High School

  • Towson High School

  • Device checks for central office staff: Please bring the power cord. Replacements will be Chromebooks. Friday, December 4, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at West Towson Elementary School.

Once again, thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together through this crisis.

December 1, 2020 - From Superintendent Williams

I want to reassure you about our return to virtual learning tomorrow for all students. We know that the platform will look and feel different. What’s important is that we provide the best possible instruction and provide opportunities for connections between families and schools.

To prepare for tomorrow, students and staff who have a BCPS HP device need to first check for ransomware.

There is information for students about logging in, as well as information for school staff. We will continue to provide updates online.

I thank you all for your patience, dedication, and understanding. We have made an incredible amount of progress by working together as a team.

Thank you!

November 30, 2020

We are planning to resume virtual instruction for all students on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Schools will follow what would have been their schedule for today, Monday, November 30, 2020.

In order to prepare for Wednesday, the following will occur tomorrow, Tuesday, December 1, 2020:

  1. For middle and high school instructional staff (including teachers, special education teachers, related service providers, and special area teachers): follow the “Steps to Perform a Confidence Check” on the device. If needed, assistance will be available from 8:30 - 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday at their assigned cluster high school. See the list by zone under Round 1.

  1. For all instructional staff (elementary, middle, and high): go to the School-Based Staff webpage at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday for information and directions about using Schoology, the resources available, and Google Meet. This is the opportunity for instructional staff to reorient themselves to these platforms and resources.

  1. For students who have an HP or Windows-based device: follow the “Steps to Perform a Confidence Check” on Tuesday. This is not necessary for Chromebooks. Students needing a new device or assistance should go to the high school closest to their home between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. BCPS IT staff will be available to assist students with getting a different device, or if needed, performing a confidence check.

  1. For all other staff: follow the “Steps to Perform a Confidence Check” and let their supervisor know if their device is infected.

November 29, 2020

Our focus today and for Monday and Tuesday is identifying and addressing student and staff device needs so that instruction can continue.

We now know that BCPS-issued Chromebooks were not impacted by the cyber attack. You may now safely use: BCPS-issued Chromebooks and BCPS Google accounts for students and staff. Please do not use BCPS-issued Windows-based devices until further notice.

You may access updates from the BCPS home page.

As a reminder:

  • Schools are closed to students on Monday, November 30, and Tuesday, December 1.

  • Offices are open. Staff will receive additional information.

  • Student meals are available on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Thanks again for your support and understanding as we work through the situation.

November 28, 2020

Due to the recent ransomware attack, Baltimore County Public Schools will be closed for students on Monday, November 30, and Tuesday, December 1. BCPS offices will be open and staff will receive additional information about Monday and Tuesday.

This provides much-needed time for our staff to continue working to set up the instructional platform and to communicate next steps regarding devices.

On Monday, November 30, and Wednesday, December 2, student meals will be available for pickup at no cost, at more than 300 locations as usual, including all middle and high schools.

We understand how challenging this situation is for families and staff, and we thank you for your patience as we work through this crisis. Please note that future daily updates will be available at 5 pm.

Thank you!