Appendix A: Telecommunications Guidance
The Falmouth Public Schools is engaged in remote learning to support students’ continuity of learning. This process includes use of new and varied tools to support telecommunications, including video conferencing. As is the Clipper way, we must continue to respect the privacy and intellectual property rights of our school community – our educators and our students.
By agreeing to participate in remote learning, students must agree that they cannot save, record (video or audio), share, or post material or any photos from virtual sessions. Massachusetts has a two-way consent law, meaning both parties need to understand that audio/video is being recorded. Educators must ensure that parents/guardians understand that they/their children are not to record or screenshot to protect student privacy/confidentiality and prevent cyberbullying.
Educators agree to seek parents’/guardians’ permission if the occasion to save, record, share, or post material or any photos from virtual sessions arises. Educators must remain aware of which students are on the “no photo” list at their schools.
The rules in school apply to remote learning experiences. Students must treat each other with respect during remote interactions and must obey school rules. If students or their parents/guardians do not agree to these rules, they must disconnect from the session and contact their teacher to receive an alternative learning plan.
Ultimately, our educators’ interactions and connections with our students are essential, and, in trying times like these, these interactions and connections are increasingly critical.
- Prior to beginning your first small group or classroom session or whenever a new student joins your virtual platform, please read the following disclaimer:
The Falmouth Public Schools strictly prohibits students from taking screenshots, pictures, audio/video recordings, and distributing of any virtual educational experience. Students agree to engage in virtual educational experiences in a quiet private area, to the extent possible, and to protect student confidentiality.
- When interacting with students, use telecommunication tools available within the GoogleSuite or Schoology as much as is possible. These tools are supported by the District’s IT team. While whole and small group interactions do not need to be recorded, you may choose to do so. If you do, all videos are archivable through use of the following procedures:
- When using GoogleMeet, now available at all grades, you can record the video to share with your classes. However, in order to record, you have to notify students and parents/guardians prior to recording. You can also add a Chrome extension to enable a grid view like Zoom has.
- Zoom is also an available platform for video conferencing with students, and like GoogleMeet, allows for recording. The district has secured a privacy agreement to support use with students.
- If you do record, the intent should be to replay for students, and all recordings must be saved in your GoogleDrive. Directions for how to embed videos, including these recordings, into both Schoology (adding video, adding screencasts) and GoogleClassroom (adding video, adding screencasts) are available by clicking these links. Please also know that recordings that include students’ voices and images become a part of students’ school records.
- Microphones can pick up all surrounding noise just as cameras can pick up images of all actions in the surrounding areas. Please provide guidance to students and families about thoughtful surroundings during group telecommunications interactions.
Maintaining Relationships & Instruction
- When you invite students to an initial session, make it informal and more of a check-in rather than an instructional session. For younger students, ask them to share a story or read them a story. For older students, it may be as simple as starting with, “How are you?” All students like to share activities they’ve been engaged in during the school closure.
- VideoChats and other telecommunication strategies are great tools for whole classes and also powerful for small group interaction and instruction.
- In the event engaging in a 1:1 interaction with a student is the best way to deliver instruction, review individual progress, or offer services, the district seeks to safeguard your individual communication. Therefore, you must use one of the following options:
- Invite a Teaching Assistant or Co-Teacher to join in.
- If a colleague is unable to join, then the session should be recorded via Zoom or GoogleMeet. The resultant recording must be saved in a folder in the Drive to ensure it is properly archived. When possible, the folder should be named “Remote Learning Videos” for a common practice. All videos are archivable through use of the following procedures:
- If adjustment counselors/school psychologists intend to engage in video telehealth counseling, it must be done through doxy.me or Zoom which are HIPPA and FERPA compliant, and student and parent/guardian permission must be obtained.
- If guidance counselors pursue telecommunications as a way to continue counseling sessions with individual students and/or groups of students, it must be with student and parent/guardian permission. Parent/Guardian permission can be obtained via email or phone (document date/time of consent).
- Telepractice is permitted for speech-language pathologists and audiologists who are licensed by the MA Board of Professional Licensure, but there are certain requirements that must be satisfied before providing telepractice services (e.g., 10 hours of training in telepractice in classroom courses or distance learning).
- There are no additional requirements for telepractice guidelines for occupational and physical therapy.
Other Forms of Interaction
- Email within the Falmouth Public Schools Google domain is open and permitted for students in grades five through twelve.
- Similarly, educators can use GoogleHangouts to create whole class and small group messaging. This tool is supported by Falmouth IT and sessions are archived in accordance with district practice and procedure. This feature is also limited to grades five through twelve.
- For younger learners, email communications should be sent to parents/guardians, not students. This also includes seeking permissions for teleconferencing as well as scheduling online chats.
As we continue to strengthen our use of telecommunications in support of student learning, we will continue to add detail to this guidance document.