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School to update technology policies

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- With ever-changing technologies, come more changes to the Newton County School System's computer use policies.

The Newton County Board of Education is reviewing several additions to Board Policy IFBG, Use of Computer/Communication Resources. Many include updating current terminology and new countywide programs, said Dr. Linda Hayden, associate superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Technology at NCSS.

The added items to the policy state:

* No student or employee can use the log-in of another student or employee.

Hayden said this was added for security reasons.

* All fifth- through 12th-grade students are given access to a system email account with the permission of each school's principal. Any inappropriate use of the account will result in it being terminated. Any employee or student accounts are to be used for official school system business or for instructional purposes only.

The system was piloted in some schools this year and will continue, Hayden said.

* Students and employees are allowed to bring with them on every campus their personal mobile devices, like laptops, netbooks, e-readers, iPods, iPads and smartphones, unless prohibited. All devices are allowed to use the guest wireless networks that are now available in schools.

All phones must be turned off when they are within a classroom unless allowed by a teacher. Any use of devices within a classroom must be approved by the teacher and must be used for instructional purposes only.

NCSS is not liable or responsible for any personal device, according to the policy.

* Approved software only may be installed by technology department personnel and other designated technology personnel.

The updated policy must be tabled for at least 30 days.

The school board will vote on it at its next monthly meeting, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. April 19 at the Newton County BOE building at 2109 Newton Drive N.E. in Covington.

The policy was last updated in June 2010 and before that in 2008, 2001 and 1999, after originally being adopted in May 1996.