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Union County Schools website disabled

“Going to the Internet” wasn’t a good alternative for Union County Public Schools students and parents preparing for the first day of classes.

The system’s website was disabled accidentally last week by an employee, according to school system officials. Technology personnel scrambled over the weekend to repair the website, but most of the links and other information contained on the site were missing Monday.

“Ten years ago, a school website might have been a curiosity to some people,” Rob Jackson, the school system’s Chief Communications Officer, said Monday. “But when something like this happens in today’s world, it’s amazing how important the Internet is.”

Parents who went looking for information prior to the start of school could testify to the importance of a website.

“We couldn’t check the lunch menus, we couldn’t contact our children’s teachers – a lot of basic information like that,” one parent said in an e-mail.

Chief Technology Officer Tony Burrus said the website shutdown was an accident.

“Unfortunately, mistakes happen,” Burrus said. “We are working to both correct the error and ensure that this cannot happen again.”

Burrus said the school district set up a temporary website and tried to add important links over the weekend. Burrus said the goal was to have as many functions working as possible for the start of classes Monday morning. But people who visited the site Monday morning got only links to some forms, along with a limited employee directory.

Jackson said the school system’s technology personnel made progress Monday, and he hopes for a lot more of the original website to return Tuesday.

“If all goes well, we could have the individual schools’ websites standing again,” he said. “And we’ll add more as the week goes on. But it could be a few weeks before everything is back.”

It was the second problem for the school system’s technology staff in less than a year. Someone hacked into the website in February. No arrests were ever announced in the case.

Jackson said the website’s disappearance was a lesson to Union County Schools officials.

“The backup site was gone, too,” he said. “In the future, we expect to have more failsafes in place to prevent something like this from happening again.”

Steve Lyttle: 704-358-6107 Twitter: @slyttle
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