Update: No Hacking Involved In School’s Message To West Michigan Parents About Masking Policy
Update: Officials at the Wayland Union School District now say that there was no hacking involved in this morning's app alert that seemed to tell parents to ignore the district's current masking requirements for K-6th grade students.
In a statement to Townsquare Media, Laurie Zywiczynski the Director of Community Relations for WUS, says that the mistaken app alert was the result of human error while testing the system:
"...there was not a hack. It was sent by Blackboard, the app company, as a test message that wasn't supposed to be sent to our families. They were testing sending a pdf and put the words "ignore it" as the subject line instead of saying it was a test message. They pulled our health order pdf from our website to use instead of using a test pdf. There was no breach in security or hack, just a mixup with their support team."
Previously: This morning parents in the Wayland Union School District were greeted by an app notification from the official school app with a simple message, "Ignore It". The message then linked to the Public Health order issued on August 18th requiring masking for students in the district in grades K-6th.
The message, sent at 7:58 am, appeared to be instructing parents in the district to ignore the Public Health Order on student masking issued on August 18th by the health department.
The message was quickly corrected by Laurie Zywiczynski, the district's Director of Community Relations, in a message sent to parents via the app, parent portals, and e-mail. The correction stated that this was a mistake, and a possible hack:
Dear Staff and Parents/Guardians,
This morning at 7:58am, a message was sent out from our school app that was incorrect and a possible hack. It said "Ignore It" and had a link to the Public Health Order on 8/18/2021.
We are investigating this message and it has now been removed. Wayland Union Schools is still following the face mask order for students K-6th grades.
Parents who then checked the app found this similar message.
The masking requirement, issued by the Allegan County Health Department, requires the masking of kids currently in those grades, most of who are currently unable to be vaccinated against Covid-19. The order also applies to bussing and common spaces for children outside of those grades who interact with K-6th grade students.