Covid Plus Hacker

By Zach Armstrong

PRINCE GEORGE, Va -- After one week of classes in the 2020-2021 academic year, Prince George County Public Schools have confirmed one case of COVID-19 and an incidence of computer hacking during a virtual class.

            The confirmed case of coronavirus came from a member of the North Elementary School and the individual had direct contact with other members of the school.

According to a press release from the school division, 24 students have been asked to quarantine as a precautionary measure and have been directed to stay home and monitor for symptoms of cough, shortness of breath or a temperature higher than 100.4°F, and practice social distancing for 14 days from their last contact.

            Those students asked to quarantine will be temporarily moved online until they are able to return to school in-person.

            “We knew that situations such as this would arise and the PGCPS’ Team prepared plans to address these occurrences as they happen,” said Superintendent Lisa Pennycuff in a press release. “We also understood that we would need to be prepared for the children’s education to continue during the time the Virginia Department of Health requires for them to be away from the school campus.”

            According to reports from WTVR, multiple instances of computer hacking also disrupted PGCPS classes on Sept. 10.

            During one virtual class, a computer hacker hacked the session using racist and threatening language in front of students with voice-altering technology. According to the report, the hacker posed as a student and then used racist expletives. The teacher eventually asked students to end the class session.

            “The school division believes this is an isolated incident involving the improper sharing of a Zoom session link by a student, we have provided additional support for our teachers to ensure those present in their virtual session are rightfully there and others are prevented from joining.” said Pennycuff in an email.

            PGCPS teachers use Zoom video conferencing, Google classroom and Google Meet to deliver instruction to students. No complaints have been made to any companies providing services to the school division.

            On Sept. 8, students returned to school virtually and in-person at the district's nine schools with health and safety measures in place. Students who choose in-person instruction will attend classes Monday through Thursday, with Fridays serving as a day of virtual learning. PGCPS ordered over 2,500 Chromebooks for the needs of elementary families who have chosen virtual instruction.