Here are the steps SPS is taking so your student is safe during online classes

SPOKANE, Wash. — Navigating virtual learning is tough and now, school districts across the country are dealing with an even bigger issue: hackers.

A quick Google search will show that “Zoom-bombers” are hijacking online classes in several states and showing inappropriate images.

It’s even happened locally; the Pullman School District is investigating after someone hacked into a middle school band class and showed pictures of bestiality.

READ: Pullman Police: Hackers shows inappropriate video during middle school Zoom class

So, what can be done to protect children and teachers conducting courses in an online setting?

Administrators with Spokane Public Schools said they have taken several precautions as they prepare to begin virtual learning later this month.

Scott Kerwen, Director of Technology and Information with SPS, said it is important to pick a safe  program to hold online courses.

Zoom has come under scrutiny for a variety of security and privacy problems. That is why SPS chose to use Microsoft Teams as a video platform for online classes.

Kerwen said Teams has better security protocols and offers links that are unique to each teacher. These links change by date and time; for example, a meeting link for this Friday at 9 a.m. will be different than the link for next Friday at 9 a.m. Zoom offers one link that can be used for multiple meetings.

Kerwen said the protocol through Teams also eliminates nearly 100 percent of strange activity or people trying to enter random classes.

The district has outlined certain protocols for teachers, as well. They will not be allowed to post a meeting link publicly and there is no link sharing involved on Teams.

Teachers will also set up lobbies – like a waiting room in Zoom – and have students enter that before they are allowed into the online class one-by-one. That way, if a stranger tries to enter, a teacher will be able to deny their access.

More information about SPS’s reopening plan and virtual curriculum can be found here. 

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