Distance Learning in St. Vincent’s Primary School

Due to the increase in the use of technology to continue learning which has been brought about by Covid-19, we at St. Vincent’s Primary, are working on ways to maintain the link between school and home. This document sets out the policy of the school in respect of the use of technology for distance or remote teaching and learning.

We all miss our pupils and we hope to continue to communicate with them through various means. We recognise that online safety is of huge importance and we hope that this document helps to protect both school staff and pupils, while online.

We recognise that online collaboration is essential for distance learning and that families are in favour of opportunities to maintain the connection between school and home.

St. Vincent’s Primary will facilitate access to a variety of online tools, which will assist in providing more effective teaching and learning, while also enabling greater communication between staff, families and students. As in the classroom each teacher has a unique teaching style, different teachers will have a different approach also to distance learning. Staff can choose to interact at the level they are most comfortable with whilst ensuring communication with pupils is on a daily and ongoing basis.

General Guidelines for good online communication in St. Vincent’s Primary

• Under no circumstances can pictures or recordings be taken of any interactions between the school staff and pupils.
• Staff, families and students are expected to behave in an appropriate, safe, respectful and kind manner online.
• It is the duty of parents/guardians to supervise children while they are working online and to ensure any content which they are submitting to their teacher is appropriate.
• Staff members can communicate with pupils and their families via Aladdin, nominated email or through an established app (Seesaw).
• Any electronic forms of communication will be for educational purposes and to allow for communication with families.
• Students and staff can communicate using tools which have been approved by the school and of which parents have been notified (Seesaw, Zoom).  Please see Appendix 1 below with detailed information on the use of Zoom in our school.
• Parental permission will be acquired before setting up a profile for a pupil on a communication forum.
• For video/Zoom calls, parental permission is implied, as the link to a video call will be communicated via the parent/guardian’s email address. Essentially, by virtue of the pupil logging on to the call, permission is assumed.
• For security reasons, passwords will be provided to families, where applicable.
• St. Vincent’s Primary School cannot accept responsibility for the security of online platforms, in the event that they are hacked.
• Communication using a mobile phone will not be frequent, but in the rare exception where it is necessary, staff members will ensure that their caller ID is private.

Rules for pupils using online communication methods:
For submitting learning:
• Submit work and pictures that are appropriate – have an adult take a look at your work before you send it.
• Use kind and friendly words.

Guidelines for parents and guardians:
For learning
• It is the responsibility of parents and guardians to ensure that pupils are supervised while they work online.
• Check over the work which pupils send to their teacher, ensuring it is appropriate.
• Continue to revise online safety measures with pupils.

This is a working document. As we try out new ways of supporting distance learning, the document will be updated.


Guidelines for staff members using online communication methods (Zoom):

• Under no circumstances can pictures or recordings be taken of video calls.
• Staff members will communicate with pupils and families during school hours only.
• Staff members will have high expectations regarding pupil behaviour, with any communication which takes place online.
• Staff members will seek to become familiar with apps before using them with pupils.
• Staff will check that consent has been given, before setting up a pupil profile for an online app.
• Staff members will report any concerns regarding online behaviour or interactions to school management.
• Staff are encouraged to generate a new meeting ID and password for each Zoom meeting being held.
• Staff members will notify parents/guardians of the date, time and password for a video call via email.
• Staff members will only admit participants to video conferences, if they recognise the email address/username as being connected to a pupil.

Rules for pupils for video calls/Zoom:

• Pictures or recordings of the video call are not allowed.
• Remember our school rules – they are still in place, even online.
• Set up your device in a quiet space, with no distractions in the background.
• Join the video with your microphone muted.
• Raise your hand before speaking, just like you would do in class.
• If you have the chance to talk, speak in your normal voice, using kind and friendly words.
• Show respect by listening to others while they are speaking.
• Ensure that you are dressed appropriately for the video call.
• Be on time – set a reminder if it helps.
• Enjoy! Don’t forget to wave hello to everyone when you join!

Guidelines for parents and guardians for video calls/Zoom:

• Any Zoom call must be within sight of a parent/guardian.
• Under no circumstances can pictures or recordings be taken of video calls.
• Ensure that the school – class teacher, has the correct email address for inviting you to join apps and meetings. This can be communicated through the Seesaw App. This will be extremely important during the school closure as this will be our main method of communication.
• The main purpose of a video call is to maintain a social connection between the school staff and pupils at this difficult time. Encourage pupils to listen and enjoy the experience.
• Be aware that when participating in group video calls, you can be seen and heard unless you are muted or have disabled your camera.
• You will automatically enter a waiting room when the code for a Zoom call has been entered. Please note that school staff will only accept users into video call if you can be identified by the display name on your zoom account. Please ensure an appropriate name is used.
• Please ensure that your child is on time for a scheduled video, or they may be locked out. Please request to join the Zoom call approximately five minutes before the scheduled start time. This will give school staff time to verify your email address.
• Make sure to familiarise your child with the software in advance. For video in particular, show them how to mute/unmute and turn the camera on/off. See Zoom Operation Tools below
• Participants in the call should be dressed appropriately.
• An appropriate background/room should be chosen for the video call.
• For detailed information on GDPR and Zoom, please visit https://zoom.us/privacy

Zoom Buttons:

This button is in the top right of your screen. This allows you to switch between viewing the speaker as a larger screen and others as smaller, or seeing everyone as smaller screens together.

This is in the bottom left of your screen. When a red line is going through it, we cannot hear you. To mute/unmute yourself, press this button.

This is in the bottom left of your screen. When a red line is going through it, we cannot see you. To turn your camera on/off, press this button.

This button on in the bottom middle of your screen. When you click this, you can select a thumbs up or clapping symbol. I may say “show me a thumbs up if you can hear me” and this is what you click.

This is on the bottom middle of your screen. It allows you to send messages and see the chat on a side panel. Everyone in the class can see your message. Click this button to use the chat.

This button is on the bottom right of your screen. Click this button to end the meeting. When I end the meeting, it will automatically end it for everyone.

It is important to note that any breach of the above guidelines will result in a discontinuation of this method of communication. A breach may also result in a person being immediately removed from a meeting or in a meeting being immediately terminated. In this case, the child’s parent will receive a report on the incident.