UPDATES: DMPS Network Outages and Interruptions
This page contains, in chronological order, announcements and notices made since a cyber security attack against Des Moines Public Schools.
4:00 PM – Tuesday, January 24, 2023
We want to update you on the progress our technology team is making on restoring our online systems. If you’ve followed reports of cyber-attacks at other Iowa school districts, you know it can take weeks for a district to fully recover and investigate an attack. As the largest school district in Iowa with systems impacting 30,000 students and 5,000 employees the process will continue over the next several weeks. Working with the support of our cyber security partners and insurance company, we are making slow and steady progress with each step taken carefully to avert additional potential attempts to invade our systems. Our work to investigate this matter and restore our systems is taking place on parallel tracks with being done right, not fast, being the top objective.
10:00 AM – Wednesday, January 18, 2023
The following message from interim Superintendent Matt Smith was sent to all DMPS families . . .
Dear DMPS Families:
Everyone at Des Moines Public Schools appreciates your patience and understanding over the past several days as we responded to a cyber security incident. Our technology staff and consultants have been hard at work in determining the cause and extent of the incident as well as safely getting many functions back online. That work will continue for several more days.
Tomorrow (Thursday, January 19) will be a school day at DMPS. As we announced last week, due to our network interruption last week, the last day of the first semester has been moved to Friday and the first day of the second semester will be next Monday, January 23.
While there is a lot of work still underway behind the scenes, we are making sure it is a normal day at school for our students and teachers. Some of our key teaching and learning tools – such as Infinite Campus and Canvas – will be available.
As you may know, the weather forecast for later today calls for snow and rain in the Des Moines metro. Please take care if you are on the roads. At this time, we do not anticipate the weather will change any plans for school tomorrow.
Again, thank you for your understanding over these past several days. We are honored to educate the children of Des Moines, and that you have chosen DMPS.
12:00 Noon – Saturday, January 14, 2023
Technology staff and district leaders continue to work through the weekend in response to a cyber security incident targeting DMPS earlier this week. In coordination with our cyber insurance company, that diagnostic and forensic work will continue for the next several days. pic.twitter.com/D4URDGToJp
— DM Public Schools (@DMschools) January 14, 2023
3:00 PM – Thursday, January 12, 2023
All of us at Des Moines Public Schools are happy to have been able to welcome students, teachers and staff back to school this morning … and to be back doing the important work we are meant to do.
We have just a few reminders to share this afternoon:
- Tomorrow (Friday, January 13) is a school day. As with today, and likely for several additional school days, all or most learning will take place offline.
- Programs, such as Metro Kids and Boys & Girls Club, are open and all activities and athletic events are taking place as scheduled.
- There are no classes on Monday, in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and on Tuesday and Wednesday for teacher professional development time.
- The last day of the first semester is now Friday, January 20 and the first day of the second semester is Monday, January 23.
- DMPS includes days at the end of the school year to make up for educational time lost when classes are canceled. At this time, if no additional school days are canceled, the last day of the 2022-23 school year for students will be Friday, June 2.
- The school district’s information technology staff continues to investigate the cause and extent of this incident, in coordination with the school district’s cyber insurance company, and are working to fully restore the district’s network when it is safe to do so. This work will continue over the next several days.
Cyber-attacks have become a regular threat for both public agencies and private business across the country and around the world. At DMPS, the only safe and prudent decision in response to this incident was to cancel classes in order to assess the situation as it impacted every part of our organization, from teaching and learning in the classroom to the functions that support the day-to-day operation of the district.
We recognize this was an inconvenience for our families – and appreciate your grace and patience – and are glad to have been able to resume school as soon as we were able.
1:00 PM – Wednesday, January 11, 2023
As we announced last night, significant progress was made in restoring some systems in order for classes to resume safely tomorrow, Thursday, January 12.
Some of that progress includes restoring access to Infinite Campus and ensuring phones are operational. Students should expect an offline learning experience until further notice as internet access and other networked resources will be limited. Teachers and staff are in our school buildings today, working on solutions to providing lessons with diminished network capacity.
A few additional updates for today:
- Pending School Board approval, the 2022-23 academic calendar will be changed so that the last day of the first semester is Friday, January 20 and the first day of the second semester is Monday, January 23.
- The school district sets aside days at the end of the school year to make up for time when classes are canceled. At this time, assuming no additional school days are canceled, the last day of the 2022-23 school year for students will be Friday, June 2.
- Metro Kids along with Boys & Girls Club locations at DMPS schools will be open tomorrow.
- All activities and athletic events scheduled for Thursday and Friday will take place as planned.
- Information was sent out earlier this morning about school food pantries. School-based pantries close at 2:00 PM this afternoon, but partner sites are open. Visit the Food Bank of Iowa and DMARC for details.
- A reminder that there are no classes at DMPS next Monday, in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and on Tuesday and Wednesday for teacher professional development.
- The school district’s information technology staff continues to investigate the cause and extent of the cyber security incident that took place earlier this week, in coordination with the school district’s cyber insurance company, and are working to fully restore the district’s network when it is safe to do so. This work will continue in the days ahead.
We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during what has been a challenging time for everyone in the DMPS community. We look forward to seeing everyone back in school tomorrow.
8:00 PM – Tuesday, January 10, 2023
DMPS information technology professionals have made significant progress tonight in restoring our systems. School will resume for students on Thursday, January 12. Students should expect an offline learning experience.
What has changed:
- Access to Infinite Campus student information is now available.
- Phones are operational.
- A limited number of building staff will have access to the internet, though it is not yet accessible to all classroom teachers. WiFi will not be available.
- Operations and building staff will be taking appropriate measures to keep the buildings safe and secure.
We appreciate that there are more questions to be answered (athletics, activities, etc.) We will have additional information to share tomorrow morning.
A reminder that updates can be sent directly to the Snap! Connect app on your phone.
3:30 PM – Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Thank you for your continued patience as our technology teams and external cyber security partners work through the complicated process of clearing and restoring systems that impact 30,000 students and nearly 5,000 staff members. We are working as quickly as possible to remove all threats from our systems, make sure all servers and devices are safe and clean, and return full functionality so students and staff may return to the classroom.
- There will be no school tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 11, while work to restore systems continues.
- Activities and athletics at home are canceled. Those away from DMPS facilities will continue as scheduled.
- District offices will be open tomorrow with limited services. Many staff will be working remotely.
- The district is working on plans, hoping to reopen school on Thursday, January 12.
- The district website dmschools.org has been restored, enabling us to communicate and house updates to the work underway to restore systems.
The network outage has impacted all areas of the school district, not only numerous teaching and learning functions but also systems relating to transportation, building operations, health and safety, food and nutrition, finance, communications and more.
The district will share another progress update tomorrow morning. Please check the email address you provided the district during registration for a message from Interim Superintendent Matt Smith.
10:45 AM – Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Classes remain canceled at Des Moines Public Schools for Tuesday, January 10. Offices are open but services are limited. Home athletics and activities are canceled; away athletics and activities will continue as scheduled.
We continue to work around the clock to resolve disruption of our network systems and operations, which, out of an abundance of caution, have remained offline until we are confident that we can safely bring them back into service.
Our goals right now are to remove any and all threats from our systems, make sure all devices are clean, and restore our full functionality.
Schools remain closed today, as access to systems with student information, educational programming, and numerous operational functions remain offline.
We will provide another update, including plans for school on Wednesday, January 11, later this afternoon. To receive notice of additional information on your mobile device, be sure to turn on notifications for Snap! Connect.
6:00 PM – Monday, January 9, 2023
Classes are canceled at Des Moines Public Schools for Tuesday, January 10. Offices will be open although staff may be working remotely, and services limited. Home athletics and activities are cancelled; away athletics and activities will continue as scheduled.
4:30 PM – Monday, January 9, 2023
Classes are canceled at Des Moines Public Schools for Tuesday, January 10. Offices will be open although staff may be working remotely, and services will be limited. Athletics and activities are currently scheduled to take place.
Earlier this morning, DMPS was alerted to a cyber security incident on its technology network. As a preemptive measure the school district’s internet and network services were taken offline as the matter is currently being investigated and assessed.
Because many technology tools that support both classroom learning as well as the management and operation of the school district are not available at this time, the prudent decision is to close the district for the day.
We apologize for any inconvenience this situation has caused. Updates will be posted as more information becomes available.
11:00 AM – Monday, January 9, 2023
Des Moines Public Schools preemptively took the school district’s internet and network services offline this morning in response to unusual activity on the network. At this time, the matter is being investigated by our IT staff and consultants.
Access to the internet, WiFi, and various networked systems, at school buildings and district offices, will be either offline or intermittent throughout the day. Telephone service is working.
We apologize for any inconvenience. An update will be provided later today.
NOTE to DMPS families and staff: To receive instant updates on your mobile device, download Snap! Connect and enable notifications.