The Durham District School Board (DDSB) says it’s currently recovering from what it calls a ‘cyber-incident’ that has left schools without access to phone or email services as well as emergency contact information.

In a letter to parents and guardians on Sunday, the school board said the incident first came to their attention on Friday and that steps were immediately taken to secure their network.

“The Durham District School Board is currently recovering from a cyber-incident that first came to our attention on Friday. Upon our discovery, we immediately took steps to secure our network and retained expert assistance. We have notified law enforcement and are working to investigate and understand the full impact of this incident,” the letter said.

The letter goes on to say that in-person schools will remain open on Monday, but “all DDSB phone and email services are not working and schools may not have access to emergency contact information.”

The school board is asking parents and guardians to send temporary emergency contact information with their children to school.

Schools will be taking manual attendance on Monday and parents and guardians will not be contacted if their child is absent, the letter says.

The letter also said that all ‘DDSB@Home’ classes and literacy tests are cancelled on Monday, while warning that most student Chromebooks won’t be working.

The DDSB said schools “will be taking measures to ensure the safe operation of schools on Monday" and added that childcare services and community use of schools will continue as usual.

“Our IT team has been working throughout the weekend and will continue until we are able to restore services. We appreciate that this incident raises a significant privacy concern, and we will be providing updates and sharing more information when we have it. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause,” the letter said.

No further information has been provided about the nature of the apparent cyber attack or when the school board expects to regain access to the services that have been affected.