Dear WPS Parents and Families,
Aligned with the Connecticut State Department of Education’s (CSDE) guidance entitled Advance, Adapt, Achieve: Connecticut’s Plan to Learn and Grow Together (the “Reopening Guidelines”), Waterbury Public Schools will continue to use videoconferencing to provide live instruction to students learning remotely through the 2020-2021 school year. We are protective of the confidentiality rights of students and will continue to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Teachers are delivering live instruction to students learning in the classroom and at home via video conferencing using Google Meet. As determined by the teacher or in accordance with plans for students with special needs, the District may also use live remote instruction in small group and/or individual settings. Student names and images will be visible to the teacher and other participants and observers.
Guidelines for Participation in Live Videoconferencing
To facilitate videoconferencing and safeguard student privacy and confidentiality, and to the extent required by applicable law, the District requires that students and parents/guardians of students adhere to the following:
- Parents/guardians and students are prohibited from audio recording, video recording or photographing videoconferencing sessions (including participants in such sessions) in any manner.
- Individuals present in the home other than the student are not permitted to participate in or be visible on the videoconference, or otherwise observe the lesson, other than reasonable adult supervision of the student, and except as otherwise permitted by the Waterbury Board of Education’s policy and administrative regulations regarding classroom visitation and observation.
- Students participating in videoconferencing from remote locations must join the videoconference on time, dress appropriately and follow all rules and guidelines established by the teacher.
- All participating individuals must comply with relevant Waterbury Board of Education policies and administrative regulations, including but not limited to those concerning the confidentiality of student records, acceptable use of district computer systems and student discipline.
- Parents/guardians are encouraged to have their students participate via a location that is quiet and free of distraction, to the extent possible. A desk or kitchen table may work, whereas on a bed is not ideal.
- Please be mindful of what is in view on the camera behind the participant and take care to choose a location with an appropriate background that does not violate Board of Education policy.
- Students are encouraged to use a headset or headphones while participating in videoconferencing, especially if they are in a room with other individuals.
- Leaving the Google Meet early, may result in being marked absent. Consistent tardiness or absence will be used to determine if distance learning is the right placement for the student.
A student may be removed from that Google Meet at any time based on the teacher’s discretion.
A pattern of failure to comply with these guidelines may result in a student losing the privilege of participating in distance learning in the Virtual Academy.
Finally, while student privacy and the confidentiality of student information is of utmost importance, parents/guardians are reminded that the District is not in direct control of individual homes or the physical locations of students participating in videoconferencing remotely.
Verna D. Ruffin, Superintendent