Safety in the Age of Online Learning

We have all heard the stories in the news of uninvited guests gaining entry into virtual platforms such as Zoom, and with the explosion of online learning around the world in the last few months, these stories are more prevalent.

In the past two weeks, the Middle School has had two instances where someone with a name the teacher did not recognize either entered or tried to join a synchronous class. 

In the first instance, a person appears to have joined a class through Zoom. This was prior to all of the new Zoom security feature updates, including waiting rooms and requiring the host to manually admit participants. The uninvited guest used a lude photo as their ID picture. The teacher recognized this within seconds and removed the person from the meeting immediately. This happened just as the class was ready to dismiss. Some, but not all, of the students did see the lude photo. An email to students and parents was sent out within an hour. This situation was also brought to the attention of our Technology Department for further review.

More recently, a person using a email tried to gain entry into a different class through Google Meet. This person used an inappropriate phrase as an ID name. The teacher denied access to this person. Thankfully, the students in the class were not able to see this person attempt to gain entry. Unfortunately, the students in the class could see a flash of the name that was denied. Again, an email from the teacher to students and parents was sent home immediately. 

The Technology Department has an ongoing investigation into both instances. It is important to note, however, that we cannot rule out the possibility that our own students are experimenting with the technology. A student would have had the ability to change their own photo ID in the first class, and a student could have shared the class link with another person, or simply used a different email address, to try to gain access in the second class. 

Saint Edward's School has the safest virtual learning environment we can possibly have. Our teachers are utilizing the security measures available on both Zoom and Google Meet.

So, whether it was definitely a person from outside of our community who is causing this trouble or someone from within, it is important that we all help our students understand their own roles in promoting online safety.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Keira Murphy (