Video conferencing can be a great tool to connect with students during these unprecedented times, but you need to make sure you are taking steps to keep you and your students safe.
A number of schools around the country have reported incidents of “Zoom-bombing,” where uninvited individuals have joined a class video conference and yelled profanities or hate speech.
The FBI recommends taking the following steps to mitigate teleconference hijacking threats:
- Do not make meetings or classrooms public. In Zoom, there are two options to make a meeting private: require a meeting password or use the waiting room feature and control the admittance of guests.
- Do not share a link to a teleconference or classroom on an unrestricted publicly available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific people.
- Manage screensharing options. In Zoom, change screensharing to “Host Only.”
- Ensure users are using the updated version of remote access/meeting applications. In January 2020, Zoom updated their software. In their security update, the teleconference software provider added passwords by default for meetings and disabled the ability to randomly scan for meetings to join.
- Lastly, ensure that your organization’s telework policy or guide addresses requirements for physical and information security.
Stratford physics teacher Kristen Record after a morning video conference with her AP students.
As learning has moved online in many districts, especially among secondary students, there has been a learning curve for both students and teachers. Video conferencing tools can enhance student-teacher interactions, but only if proper steps are taken to manage security issues and make sure students know how to use the platform appropriately.
Stratford teacher Kristen Record, a physics teacher at Bunnell High School, says she has found video conferencing to be a great teaching tool, given the circumstances, at the high school level. “I get to see my kids’ expressions and have real-time interactions and discussions. It’s also really important for students’ emotional well-being to have time with their class community.”
Video conferencing has been so successful for the 2011 Connecticut Teacher of the Year partly because, before launching into her first online lesson, she made a point to teach students both how to use the platform and the proper etiquette for video conferencing. Read more
Governor Ned Lamont
Governor Lamont issued an executive order yesterday requiring schools districts to continue to employ school staff during the pandemic. The order also requires state grants, including ECS and payments for special education, to continue to be dispersed to boards of education.
“We appreciate and stand with everyone on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic—all our health care workers, first responders, essential employees, and others—including our teachers—fighting to bring health, well-being, and normalcy to our communities,” said CEA President Jeff Leake. “Unprecedented actions are being taken in dealing with the fallout of the pandemic to keep us safe and our communities functioning. We must continue to do everything we can to reduce the heavy toll this public health emergency is having on the livelihoods of all Connecticut residents.”
Leake added, “The education community supports Governor Lamont’s critical actions in Executive Order 7R, which will, among other things, allow public school staff to continue working and receiving paychecks. The public, and especially parents understand the importance of our educators. This order will allow public school support staff to continue working with teachers creating engaging, welcoming learning environments for our children.”
Read more for the CT Post.
Teaching is stressful under ordinary circumstances, but add a pandemic that closes schools across the nation, and that stress can be overwhelming. Many teachers, with virtually no time and limited professional development, have had to transition from face-to-face instruction to online delivery. In difficult times such as these, it is more important than ever to set aside time to look after yourself.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or highly anxious, you should first know you are not alone. Consider forming or joining an online community of educators, many of whom likely understand what you’re going through and can share coping strategies and teaching ideas. Take time each day to walk outside, prepare the garden for spring, or just sit in the sun. Remember to take long, deep breaths. Take at least three full breaths, counting to five with the inhale, holding your breath for five counts, and exhaling for five counts. Each time you exhale, try to picture the tension in your body as a color and imagine it fading slowly away. This will begin to calm your nervous system. Read more
The news regarding the coronavirus is changing daily. Teachers are doing all they can to stay safe and keep students engaged during this health crisis, but keeping up with the daily educational developments and changes can be difficult.
Join CEA tomorrow from 3:30 to 4:30p.m. for a webinar—Navigating COVID-19: Stronger Together—to share the latest developments that impact you and your students.
In order to participate, you must pre-register for the free webinar.
Register Now ►
After you pre-register, an email link will be sent to you on Friday afternoon with information about how to participate.
Some of the most recent updates from the State Department of Education involve teacher certification and TEAM. Read more
The news regarding the coronavirus is changing daily. Today’s announcement from the State Department of Education is that, effective immediately, all components of the educator evaluation and support plan are waived for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
“I encourage educators to continue collaborative dialogue around teaching and learning as we continue to serve our Connecticut students,” Dr. Shuana K. Tucker, the Department’s chief talent officer, wrote in a letter to superintendents. “Opportunities for professional learning and career development can and should continue to the greatest extent possible.”
With so much in flux, keeping up with the daily educational developments and changes can be difficult.
CEA is here to help you.
On Friday, March 27, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., CEA is hosting a webinar—Navigating COVID-19: Stronger Together—to share the latest developments that impact you and your students. Read more