Acceptable Use Policy
Every school district already has an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). The AUP generally includes four areas related to the use of computers and the Internet from school equipment and the school network: 1) Rights, 2) Responsibilities, 3) Privileges, and 4) Sanctions.
Interwoven in the first three, you will find the roadmap to how your school establishes its content filtering. School districts should review their policy to see if they need to update any of their policies specifically for home use of loaner devices during COVID-19.
AUPs commonly state that the use of school computers and the Internet are for “Academic Use Only”. The term limitation of “Academic Use Only” may be too limiting during unique circumstances like sheltering in place. Is leisure reading or watching a video tutorial on how to bake bread considered academic? Does the use of the device to video chat with friends and family members constitute a violation of the AUP?
School districts should decide if the device is available for use by other family members, including parents. While student use should supersede parental use of the device, access by parents during shelter-in-place may be helpful to families to conduct household business that is otherwise challenging when social distancing efforts are in effect.
Social media is frequently limited or prohibited in school district AUPs. However, content providers are increasingly using platforms like Facebook to broadcast content that families might benefit from during this time. In light of the unique challenges students face during COVID-19 school closures, school districts may want to review or revise these policies.
School districts that are new to sending devices home with students should verify that their content filtering extends beyond the school building network.
Review your school district’s Acceptable Use Policy through the lens of a quarantine scenario and make appropriate changes as needed. If you make changes, make sure the revised policy is reviewed and approved by your school district board.