About Zoom

Last Updated 5/29/20

Zoom is under immense scrutiny during COVID-19 as seen in the all of the media and in some cases our own experiences. It has become the target for “bad guys” and in one writers opinion, those bad guys simply have too much time on their hands. As one of the most popular web conference tools in our region and the company’s offer for free basic accounts, it has become a magnet for improper behavior.

When you look more deeply at the tool, you will find that there is nothing “faulty” in Zoom, the tool. It has all of the same or similar security and control settings (visit our page on Zoom Security) as their most widely used competitors: Cisco WebEx and GoToMeeting. The difference is, the wide spread use and the rush to adopt a solution, may have prevented people from learning all of the features before using it. If you learn the settings and move your accounts to the “Pro” version, you will have more control and can easily prevent unexpected access or what is frequently being called “Zoom Bombing.” 

Below are a few areas particular interest:

The Open Meeting Laws, which apply to Board of Ed Meetings, require school districts to publish meeting details so anyone can attend which is an issue regardless of which video conferencing tool you use.  By publishing the meeting access details on websites, emails and social media, the bad guys have gotten access to public meetings and in some cases are showing up in all of their glory. This can be remedied in several ways; Albany makes a temporary modification to the law that won’t prevent interested community members from attending meetings, or on a more practical note, be sure the settings in your meetings either use a waiting room and monitor access using waiting room features.  You can also live stream meetings and enable a chat or telephone system for participation. There are a variety of tools available to do this.

  • Don’t let anyone in that you don’t know or whose credentials you can’t validate.
  • Remove individuals for improper behavior in the same way you would in a Face to Face (F2F) Board meeting.
  • Ask a colleague to monitor both the waiting room access and the chat window so you can focus on running the meetings. 

Setting up protocols and process for the different types of video conference meetings, will ensure everyone has a positive experience. This is true regardless of any video conferencing tool.

Zoom licenses are now available for purchase through LHRIC. You will want to be covered by this contract and buying agreement through the LHRIC especially if you are currently using free accounts. If you do not have a current contract that is EdLaw2d compliant with any video conference tool, it should not be used with students.  If you do have a contract in place for 19/20 school year, be sure you have the proper controls in the admin dashboard and train your teachers.  A properly implemented tool, regardless of the type, with the appropriate governance and processes put in place will ensure a positive experience for users and participants.

Below are some links that should help you learn more about Zoom: