MSD19's Remote Learning Plan
The health, safety, and education of our students is our top priority. During this school closure, we are offering E-Learning to our students.
E-Learning Portal Menu Content
In the navigational menu, you will find a copy of our Remote Learning Plan; a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page; resources for students, parents, and teachers; and our Help Desk for technical issues. We have added many of your concerns to the E-Learning Portal FAQ. We know there will be some technical issues, and we understand that you may have many questions and concerns in regards to technology. Please submit these to our Help Desk. In addition, we will continue to update this site often.
We initially decided that our District would not offer any type of two-way video communication. We did not feel that we could adequately protect our students and teachers from this type of platform. With FERPA, COPPA, and SOPPA regulations, we did not go into this lightly.
The number one complaint regarding our eLearning plan has been the lack of “facetime” for our students with their teachers. We were asked to reevaluate the options to see if any could meet our needs. Zoom, Google Meets, and Teams were all options we explored.
Google Meets currently is free with our current G-Suites for Education plan, but there are limitations that Google has addressed; they will not have a stable version available until June 1.
Meets opens a chat feature that is concerning. It could potentially allow our students to set up their own meets with each other, meaning some could happen with no parental guidance.
Teams is supported through Office 365 and is not a platform we are currently set up to use.
Zoom has a business edition and an education edition. The business edition is the version that they are currently offering free during the current pandemic. This version is the version that many are hearing so much about in the media. This is a great platform for business collaboration and casual communication, but it does not meet the needs of a school district. It has also been proven to have many security holes and privacy risks. They offer a paid version of the business edition and our District has used the Pro version for business meetings and even the last board meeting. This is not the version we are planning to use for Remote Learning, as it does not meet the regulations and safety requirements for our students and staff.
Zoom for Education has tools available for the Technology Department to link into our G-Suites for Education Google Admin Console. These tools allow us to lock down the Zoom for Education connections to allow only students within our domain to join any Zoom for Education class or session. This prevents anyone else from being able to join a class or session regardless of shared links or invites from anyone other than the hosts or teachers. It also allows our hosts or teachers to have needed controls to mute, turn off a video session, or remove users from any session. The district then has controls through Google Admin Console to limit who can use the host accounts and start a Zoom for Education class or session.
We did look over the concerns that were released recently regarding the Mac OS breach; it is extremely scary and something that we consider and do everything in our power to protect against. Ultimately, parents have the choice to allow their children to participate or not, but we do want families to know how much research has gone into this decision; that the paid product that we have chosen is the most secure product we have found for our students and staff; and this decision has been made in the best interest of our students’ privacy and protection. Rest assured, the version we are subscribing to does not have the flaws that have been seen in the media recently. Those reasons were already known by us, and they were the reason why we initially chose not to use Zoom while other school districts decided to use their services. (04/02/2020)