BOE approves technology policy

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- New wireless features in schools and changes in technology forced the Newton County School System to make some changes in its computer policies.

The Newton County Board of Education unanimously approved during a recent monthly work session several additions to Board Policy IFBG, Use of Computer/Communication Resources. Many of the changes include updating current terminology and new countywide programs, said Dr. Linda Hayden, association superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Technology at NCSS.

The added items to the policy state:

* No student or employee can use the login 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, net books, e-readers, iPods, iPads and smart phones, 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 policy was last updated in June 2010 and before that in 2008, 2001 and 1999, after originally being adopted in May 1996.