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LWSD Virus Headaches Continue, Especially at Eastlake

The Lake Washington School District continues to battle a virus that has affected many of its 25,000 district computers, including student laptops.

Oh, the irony. In the middle of Microsoft central, the Lake Washington School District continues to battle a pernicious computer virus called "Goblin, causing headaches in LWSD's greatly expanded student computer program.

Geekwire reported Wednesday, Nov. 28 that the district has employed five temporary IT workers to combat the problem, but still hasn't rooted it out.

The ongoing headache is more of a migraine at Sammamish's Eastlake High School, where principal Brad Malloy sent this note to families on Nov. 19.

The computer virus that has affected computers across the Lake Washington School District continues to impact Eastlake staff and students. I talked with our Director of Technology yesterday regarding Eastlake’s situation and learned that though the entire district has been affected, Eastlake is the most negatively impacted school at this time. With that said, Eastlake has received significant attention with the assignment of additional tech personnel. Thursday morning, we performed a school wide technology scan on student laptops and staff computers. I understand how frustrating this can be for everyone. I would also like to assure you that ending our “virus situation” is a significant priority for the Lake Washington School District and additional resources (personnel and outside technical support) are working to resolve this matter.

The STEM program recently took the opportunity to remind students of usage rules that could help stem future problems:

Please know the laptops are a good tool for our entire student body. Now, we need to laser in on appropriate use. For the most part, our students are doing quite well with their laptops; however, we need your assistance with two main items: games and proxy bypass. Unless the computer game is for a tech class at school, students need to leave the gaming to non-instructional and non-class times. Regarding the use of a proxy bypass item, like Ultra Surf, this is the more serious issue as these items allow students to bypass our district filters and leave our system open to viruses. Currently the district is dealing with a major tech virus that comprises computers and usage. Needless to say, this is having a negative impact on multiple levels. Using a proxy bypass is also a violation of students’ signed laptop contracts with us.

The school warned that students violating the rules will lose computer privileges.

Rose Hill Middle School in Redmond sent the following advice to families on Monday, Nov. 26:

Unfortunately, the computer virus continues. The computer virus is still impacting our access to technology and documents. Thank you for your continued patience with this extreme inconvenience. The district is making headway and is asking all students to shut down his/her netbook before leaving school. The netbook can then be turned on at home. It is also important that students shut down netbooks completely before returning to school. In other words, when walking out of or walking in to the school building, student netbooks should be off.

LWSD significantly expanded its student laptop program this school year, issuing netbooks and PC laptops to every student in most middle and high schools. The money for the computers came from a technology levy that was approved by voters in 2010.

District spokeswoman Kathryn Reith said the virus outbreak has brought some additional issues to light with the new program, especially the fact that many students and some staff are violating the district's acceptable use policy by downloading games and other unapproved programs. To mitigate the problem in the future, Reith said the district has already implemented stronger tools that alert administrators when an unaccepted use is taking place.

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