As we embark on Remote Learning and use of Google Hangouts Meet for calling and video-conferencing to provide special education supports and teletherapy to students, we want to be mindful of how to deliver services that ensure respect and dignity of all individuals.
We recognize that it may be uncomfortable for families, students, and staff to be virtually in each others’ homes. This document provides students, families, and staff guidance for creating a space in the home that is conducive to learning and respects the rights and privacy of all during online case management and related service sessions.
Please thoroughly review this document and the guidance contained within it with your student. We request that you take all reasonable efforts to follow this guidance to ensure the confidentiality of all.
- Staff will reach out to students via school email, text using “Google Chat” or “Google Hangouts Meet” to schedule virtual meeting times.
- The staff member and student will make a plan for communication that is mutually agreed upon by the student. This may include email check-in, or video conference through Google Hangouts Meet with the email address or number provided. Do your best to select a time when there would be minimal distractions.If a call comes through Google Hangouts Meet and you have caller ID, it will display as calls from “Hangouts Meet.”
- We have directed staff not to use or share personal cell or home numbers for scheduling or sessions.
Individual Case Management or Related Service Sessions:
These will include one-to-one staff and student communications using the agreed upon mode of communication. There may be some students who do not feel comfortable with video conferencing sessions, and staff will respect their privacy and offer to check in other ways, if needed.
We are attempting to provide service to the extent feasible, but services will look different. Services may include lessons, check-ins, and/or direct instruction.
Some students were receiving small group instruction with peers and/or peer mentors. We recognize that some of the social skills instruction is still best addressed with groups of students. Additionally, we want to get and keep students connected and continue to build on positive relationship building. To do that through Remote Learning requires thoughtful planning and consideration. We ask for your patience and support while we rollout a plan for delivery of specialized instruction to groups of students.
It is also important to note that given the delivery method, the District cannot guarantee that the parents/guardians (or others present in the home of other students in your student’s group) will refrain from listening to, observing, or capturing any group special education and/or related services provided.
If your student receives a related service such as Counseling, Psychological, Social Work, or Speech Services, you will be asked to sign off on an informed consent document through DocuShare prior to your student receiving these services.
Our District is taking all reasonable measures to ensure confidentiality and security of information exchanged while supporting your student through a virtual platform and hope all will follow the guidance below, however, we cannot control who is listening or viewing the sessions in each household. If you have specific confidentiality concerns, please let us know.
If you and/or your student do not feel comfortable with your student participating online within the group setting, please let the service provider know.
Below are some measures we are advising to protect the privacy of all during online case management and related service sessions.
Prior to the Meeting:
- Set up a space conducive to learning.
- Careful selection of room location and setting should be made to maintain privacy and minimize noise and distractions.
- Ideally, during sessions, students/staff would have a space away from earshot of others.
- The student/staff screen should also be facing a wall not the interior of a room.
- Be mindful of objects in camera view, visually non-stimulating and calm with minimal personal effects (family photos, etc.).
- Wear appropriate dress, like your student would wear at school (whether on a regular day or spirit day).
- Have the computer charged and headphones ready to go.
Preparing for the call:
Your student should join the meeting on time or a few minutes early. Test equipment, including the internet connection, before the meeting begins.
On the conference call:
- We recommend wearing headphones rather than using the speakerphone so that the conversation can be confidential.
- The staff and student will confirm that they are the only one on the conference and ask for the student’s confirmation that they are the only person on the call as well.
- Feel free to mute the microphone when not talking to reduce background noise. Feel free to turn off the camera during a video conference.
- If working in a group, it is sometimes helpful to ask questions via the Chat feature that the staff can address at an appropriate time. Appropriate language should be used in Chats. Information shared in the group should be respected and not shared.
- There is a feature to record on Google Hangouts Meet. We do not intend to use this feature for sessions, but if a staff member is teaching a lesson they may record a screencast. In this case, they would always inform participants if they are about to start a recording. (Participants will see a notification when the recording has started).
- Information that is discussed during counseling sessions will remain confidential between the therapist and student, with a few exceptions (as is true during in-school sessions).
- Health and Safety - If a student is expressing harm to self, if someone is harming the student, or the student is harming others, staff will consult with their immediate supervisor. Parents will be contacted. If parents/ guardians cannot be reached, and the situation is deemed unsafe, the local authorities will be contacted to conduct a well being check.
- Mandated Reporter - staff are considered mandated reporters which means they are legally obligated to report any suspicion of abuse or neglect of a student to the appropriate authorities immediately.
After the call:
If a student has any follow-up questions or concerns between sessions, they should email their case manager or with their related service team member.
In addition to the education supports and school-related services your student will be receiving, we know there may be times when students and families may need support outside of the school day or for crisis support. We are happy to provide a list of community supports, many who are also offering virtual services, at your request. If your student has an outside clinician, our staff is available to check-in and collaborate with the private providers with your and your student’s signed authorization to release information.
Lastly, we know that you may want to try to help your student navigate school and technology and support learning at home. More resources and tools for parents will be forthcoming. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your student’s case manager or other team members via email.
We are thinking of you and wishing you well.
Dr. Tiffany Rowe
Assistant Superintendent for Student Services