Herricks adopts rules for remote learning

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Herricks Superintendent Fino Celano, right, said the start to this unusual school year has gone smoothly so far. (Photo by Tom McCarthy)

The Herricks Board of Education approved a ban Thursday on students recording remote classes or using other technology while participating in a virtual class.

Superintendent Fino Celano said it was important that all students understand the “etiquette” that should be followed during online classes.

“Recording, taking photographs or taking screenshots of a video conference, video recording or live stream is prohibited. Also prohibited is altering the video conference or any content presented during remote learning,” Celano said.

Other things that are banned under the policy are redistributing, sharing or posting any portion of remote classes. Celano urged those participating in classes to be cautious with sharing links or passwords.

He said students taking classes remotely must behave as if they were in a regular class “because remote learning is an extension of school.” Violations include using a cell phone or playing video games while a remote class is going.

“We just want to make sure that this is handled by our students in an educationally sound way,” Celano said. “For the instructional time to be used well and not screen-shotting, sending it to friends and sort of horsing around with the material.”

Celano said the district will be relying on parents and teachers to help with the enforcement of these policies.

Herricks began their school year on Sept. 3 with its elementary schools on a fully in-person model and secondary schools on a hybrid learning model, splitting its student body into cohorts which alternate days in school and in remote classes. Celano said so far this has gone “very smoothly.”

“We’ve gotten a great deal of positive feedback from our parents and from students and faculty,” Celano said. “Generally the remote students have been very happy in that environment and the students that are coming back are very happy to be back.”

The board did hear comments, provided remotely from the public, some of which praised the board for their work during the pandemic and others voicing concerns about their child’s school.

One parent said they brought their child to a school playground after school and was concerned that several children and some adults were not wearing masks, the parent said they left but was distressed.

“This comes down to what I said earlier about parental responsibility,” Celano responded. “We cannot, obviously, control what happens after school or happens off of school grounds. The only solution to what you’re describing is if we close off the playground for public use and that we can if this becomes a problem.”

Celano said they are not currently allowing students to use the playground during school hours because of the pandemic and that it was disappointing for the board to hear of parents not following COVID-19 protocols.

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