COVID-19 Messages » GVA DC: Distance Learning Privacy & Security Update

GVA DC: Distance Learning Privacy & Security Update

Dear GVA Families:
 
As you know, public schools in Colorado and many other states have been forced to prepare quickly for distance or remote learning, using various online tools, for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.  This has, in turn, caused a massive increase in demand for online group discussion or meeting services, permitting schools to simulate ordinary classrooms online. Many providers, including Google, Microsoft, and Zoom, are seeing a surge in demand for such uses.  Currently, we are using Zoom for live interactions with teachers.
 
While the tools used by these providers can be properly adapted to educational use, many of them were originally designed for business meetings.  In addition, the vast increase in the use of these tools in both the public and private sectors has, unfortunately, attracted malicious hackers who have attempted, and in some cases succeeded, in disrupting such use.  These hackers are also a threat, obviously, to school, staff, student, and parent privacy and other interests.
 
We are working diligently to provide quality educational experiences while also protecting student privacy interests and meeting legal expectations for online education providers, all under an exceptionally tight timeline, and with many staff members working from home, caring for their own children, and otherwise dealing with the fallout of this crisis.  We expect that parents may have concerns or issues that arise during this period and we need to know, immediately, if parents or students become aware of any evidence that the appropriate use of technology has been compromised. Following are our expectations for ourselves, our staff, and our families during this extraordinary period:
 
  • We will communicate on an ongoing basis with providers to assure the expectations in federal and state law related to student and family privacy (FERPA, COPPA, and the Student Data Transparency and Security Act) are met and that any deficiencies that are detected are promptly corrected.
  • We will instruct staff on the proper use of online tools and on the settings or protocols that are best adapted to protect staff, student and family privacy.
  • We will respond immediately to any incidents of hacking or other disruption of our new systems or uses to correct the problem and report such incidents to proper authorities.
  • Staff will use new technology as instructed, remain current on guidance we offer, and immediately report any incident of concern.  In particular, staff will use all security-related settings and protocols required by the administration or IT staff. If staff detect any security deficiency that can or should be remedied, they are asked to notify the administration and IT staff immediately.
  • Parents and students will use new technology as instructed and immediately report any incident of concern.  In particular, students and parents will not share personal identifiers or passwords with others. If parents detect any deficiency that can or should be remedied, they are asked to notify the administration and IT staff immediately.
  • In addition, parents should be aware that student use of conferencing technology may result in members of other households incidentally seeing their child as part of an online classroom.   If anyone objects to such incidental viewing and wishes to have their student connect by audio-only, or use some other accommodation, please let us know.
 
Suggestions or concerns can be made by emailing me at sbush@gvaschools.org We urge anyone with a concern to contact us immediately.
 
We want to thank you in advance for working with us to make the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year a valuable educational experience.  We will post additional information on these issues to our website, or may provide updates to this email, as this becomes needed.  
 
Stacy Bush
Principal, GVA Douglas County