Unlike what’s been happening in Fairfax County schools in Virginia, distance learning in Montgomery County, Maryland, is proceeding smoothly and securely.
Unlike what’s been happening with Fairfax County schools in Virginia, distance learning in Montgomery County, Maryland, is proceeding smoothly and securely, education officials said.
“We’ve been able for the past two weeks to have a secure Zoom system, where if you don’t log in with an MCPS login, you can’t get in the class,” school Superintendent Jack Smith said at a Thursday meeting of county leaders.
“We’ve essentially eliminated ‘Zoombombing,’” Smith said. That’s when outsiders disrupt a Zoom session with threatening or offensive material.
Smith said they worked with Zoom to add extra features, including a default waiting room for teachers.
Montgomery County school Superintendent Jack Smith on preparing for distance learning.
“Everybody waits to come in, and then the teacher can see if the student who is trying to come in is a student who belongs in that class or a hacker out there in the digital universe,” Smith said.
Teachers also have control of the muting function, so only they can allow a student to talk or share something with the rest of the class. Students are not able to talk among themselves.
“We’ve disabled the private chat, so students cannot be talking just to one other student in the class,” Smith said.
And, the school system is constantly testing its systems.
“Of course, we also get attacked a lot, as does every computer system in this country. And we’ve been able to repulse those attacks when they’ve come in,” Smith said.
Meanwhile, the distribution of Chromebooks to students continues. Some 55,000 have been handed out so far, and Smith said another 5,000 or 6,000 will be distributed over the next three or four days.
Starting April 20, the schools’ free meal distribution service will be reduced from five days a week to four days a week. It will only happen on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
On Wednesdays, students will receive enough food for two days. All meal sites will be closed on Thursdays.
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