Videoconferencing Safeguards

Thursday, April 9, 2020 - 2:15pm

As we begin our first full week of remote learning, we wanted to make you aware of the extensive efforts that Adams 12 Five Star Schools has taken to best protect student privacy in a remote learning environment, as well as provide guidance on how students and their parents/guardians can help support these efforts. 

We appreciate your continued partnership and support as we navigate remote learning. We heard from many of our teachers that it was great to reconnect with students last week. 

We also appreciate your ongoing patience and grace as we continue to be responsive over time and improve the student and staff experience. Our commitment, regardless of this unique situation we face, is to provide the best learning opportunities we can for your child. 

Videoconferencing Safeguards

The district is aware of several incidents within the United States of unwelcome intrusions into video conferencing sessions. We recently issued staff guidance to minimize the risks associated with video conferencing, as follows. 

Zoom Video Conferencing Protections

District staff are implementing the following protections as the host of district-initiated Zoom meetings:

  1. Enable a waiting room where potential participants can be checked before entry into the video conference.

  2. Control meeting content by blocking sound, chat, screen sharing, and participants as needed.

  3. Only share meeting links through password protected venues, such as Google Classroom/Seesaw/Schoology, emails, etc.

Google Meets Protections

District staff are implementing the following protections as the host of district-initiated Google Meets meetings:

  1. Read prompts that appear when people from outside the district attempt to connect, and ensure that they recognize the account of the person trying to join the meeting.

  2. Only share meeting links through password protected venues, such as Google Classroom/Seesaw/Schoology, emails, etc.

  3. Google is actively working on a solution to further protect Google Meets meetings.

For videoconferencing in general, staff must report inappropriate behavior in a way similar to building-level behavioral reporting.

Other Safeguards

1.     Content Filtering

All sites used for remote learning are evaluated by district staff for appropriateness. While district-issued technology devices contain content filtering, families should discuss the importance of being safe, responsible and respectful online, regardless of whether the student is using district-issued technology or a personal technology device.

2.     Responsible Use

Students are responsible for complying with the district’s student conduct and discipline code in the remote learning environment, including district policy 5035, Student Use of District Technology and the Internet and district policy 5030, Student Use of Cell Phones and other Personal Devices. Again, families are encouraged to discuss with their students the importance of being respectful of their classmates and teachers in this remote learning environment.

3.     Additional considerations

As we explain in the Remote Learning FAQs, some of the applications that will be utilized during remote learning may prompt the use of a device's camera and microphone. This would typically happen during interactive sessions using either Google Meets or Zoom. Both of these applications will ask the user if they want to enable the device’s microphone and camera when starting. It is always acceptable to choose not to enable either when prompted. The student will still be able to hear their teacher. Parents wanting greater certainty over restricting the camera can place a Post-It note or similar over the camera lens (usually found at the top of the screen).

Teachers may also use digital tools that ask students to record oral answers and presentations. Parents should contact their child's teacher to request an alternative submission method if they are uncomfortable with their child submitting a recording.

If you have questions during our remote learning experience, you are encouraged to start with reaching out directly to your child’s teacher. Should you need additional assistance, the principal of your school would be the next step.

Finally, please be aware that the district’s policy prohibiting unlawful discrimination and harassment applies in the remote learning environment. Specifically, District policy 8400, Nondiscrimination, prohibits discrimination in relation to race, color, sex, age, religion, creed, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth in its educational programs, activities, operations and employment decisions is prohibited. Harassment is a form of discrimination. 

Any student who believes that he/she is being discriminated against or who witnesses discrimination in the remote learning environment shall promptly make a report to the building principal or the Nondiscrimination Compliance Officer. Persons who desire to submit their complaint in writing are encouraged to use the District’s form. For more information and access to the complaint form, see District policy 8400, Nondiscrimination.  

4. Other resources for parents

The following article discusses other steps that parents can take to support their students in the remote learning environment. 

Common Sense Media, “How to get kids ready to video chat for online classes” by Caroline Knorr (April 1, 2020).