Monday, March 30, 2020
I hope this email finds you well. I know we all want to do what is right for our students. Some members have been doing live classes using a variety of different applications. I have advised against it for several reasons. There have been instances where sessions have been hacked with inappropriate material. Some students are unable to partake in the live broadcast and have less time to complete tasks if viewed later. There is a chance that you may have inappropriate items in the background or end up witnessing inappropriate things from the students household that you must report. There is also the chance that an administrator may tune in to witness live teaching and thus the greater the possibility of an observation. To me, putting out a pre-recorded lesson you can edit would be much safer and fairer to the students overall. Many other teachers agree. Communicating with students with their parents with them to give feedback would certainly be appropriate, like a phone call would. Distance Learning shouldn't and could never be as good as having your students in front of you.
If you do still wish to teach live there are some things to also consider. Whenever contacting students outside of the school you should have parental consent and make sure the application is district approved. If administration is suggesting an application verify that it is district approved and there are no FERPA violations in contacting your students. For information on FERPA click HERE. You should also remember students may be able to record sessions and alter. To view NYSUT's guidance on the "Continuity of Learning" click HERE.
With respect to the 180 day waiver it is NYSUT's position that if Distance Learning has been offered throughout the government forced closure then there has been no loss of days and our Spring Recess would remain intact. The New York State Board Association also gives this interpretation. As such, Dr. Kelly has stated that our Spring Recess is still going to be observed by the district.
With respect to our 27 teachers who are slated to receive tenure Dr. Kelly will be calling you all to inform you what the district will do, and don't worry!