The NSW Department of Education was hit by a cyberattack on Wednesday, just hours after it was announced that the state’s schools should prepare for remote learning.
In response to the attack, a number of internal systems were deactivated by the Department as a precaution and have been unavailable since late Wednesday.
"The timing of this creates considerable challenges for staff as we prepare for the start of Term 3,” NSW Education Secretary Georgina Harrisson said in a statement provided to The Educator.
“Thankfully, our teams have been able to isolate the issues and we are working to reactivate services as soon as possible.”
Harrison said the Department of Education and Cyber Security NSW teams are working to ensure normal access is restored in time for the start of Term 3.
“I am confident we will have the issue resolved soon and want to reassure teachers and parents that there will be no impact on students learning from home next week,” she said.
"Whilst we are confident all systems will be back online before Day 1, Term 3, we are making information to support home learning available on our public website so that preparations for the start of term can continue."
NSW Education Minister, Sarah Mitchell, acknowledged that many teachers would be angry about the disruption but that everything is being done to resolve the issue.
‘School staff in a state of paralysis’
NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said the attack is having “an incredible impact” on teachers and principals.
"It means that they cannot access any information, not even the guidelines for operation next week, they can't access their emails, can't access their calendars, can't access teaching materials, can't access Zoom,” Gavrielatos said, adding the attack had left school staff in "a state of paralysis".
The Department said the matter has been referred to the NSW Police and federal agencies.