During its monthly meeting on May 11, the Nixon-Smiley school board discussed and approved staff training measures including cyber security and school safety, as well as resources for school recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.
NSCISD Superintendent Cathy Lauer said that when the 86th Legislative Session, HB 3834 was passed, it required local and state government officials to complete a Department of Information Resources (DIR) - approved cyber security training program.
“I’m sure [many of you] have read about some school districts losing data to ransomware or sending payments and/or payroll to malicious routing numbers based on email requests,” Lauer said.
Also during the meeting, NSCISD Director of Technology Sarah Loer discussed some recent cases and provided several important tips about using strong passwords and not clicking on suspicious links in emails.
“We talked about the resources for school recovery,” Lauer later commented, “and are in very early talks about our next steps. If truth be told, we are just really trying to get through graduation right. Then we can look a little further ahead. It is seriously doubtful that next school year will open up normally. Some parents are going to choose not to send their children to school. Or, we could start school as usual and find out we have to shut down again periodically. We just don't know. But we are beginning to lay out plans for different scenarios while trying to be mindful of some of the present needs as we begin to come back into our buildings.”
The board also discussed continuing wages for staff during COVID-19 furloughs, with Lauer noting that, “Although all employees continued to be paid through this extended time off, we approved a premium pay for workers who were considered ‘essential’ and needed to come to work. For example, we had cafeteria staff and bus drivers delivering meals out into the community. As we return to more normal operations, we no longer need to pay workers a premium, so everyone [will return] to normal pay.”