EduTech Essay- Pandemic Edition

Week of March 23, 2020

From the Director.........

As we all adjust to the current events around us, EduTech has been hard at work to continue to support schools across our region. We have the majority of our staff working from home with a small crew going into the offices (both Newark and LeRoy) to monitor systems and to handle support that may involve onsite work. As events unfold we will continue to communicate with you updates as we receive them.


EduTech is still here and we continue to help in any way we can.


If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at kelli.eckdahl@edutech.org


Thanks and be safe! Kelli

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working from home reminders

As you begin to support your students in a totally different model, we would like to remind you about the importance of working with sensitive information (PII). Please keep in mind the following:

  • make sure that the computer is locked when you walk away so that family members can't see what's on your screen (windows button plus L).
  • only print if you have to, pick up from the printer as soon as you print.
  • shred documents at home or secure them until you can bring them to school to shred.
  • confirm that your home WIFI network is secure with a password.
  • secure district owned equipment so family members don't use or compromise your accounts.
  • discourage staff from working in coffee shops or places that use public wifi. Public wifi can easily be compromised and it is a great risk especially when working with confidential data.
  • be aware of an increasing number of Covid-19 phishing emails and scams.
  • an increase of Covid-19 maps that contain malware that will infect computers.
  • devices sent home with students must be filtered to comply with CIPA

Project Coordination is in full force and have the tools to be able to operate at alternate locations. EduTech will also continue to process all renewals.

VPN accounts

A virtual private network (VPN) is only needed if you need access to the following:


  • All web applications such as NVision, SchoolTool, etc. do not require a VPN for access.
  • access to a district network
  • maintenance or monitoring of network operations (HVAC/Server Maintenance)


If you need a VPN account please contact the helpdesk (helpdesk@edutech.org or 1-800-722-5797) for required forms.

Bomgar accounts

EduTech has worked with Bomgar to purchase temporary user licenses in order to give you the ability to remotely troubleshoot problems with district users.


Since these are concurrent user licenses, only actively logged in users count against the total. For this reason, I would like to limit the number of technical staff we create an account for to one per district. Please note, all EduTech shared staff already have accounts.

Please electronically complete the attached user request form and send it to finance@edutech.org .

Once we have processed the user request, we will send out instructions on accessing Bomgar and initiating remote sessions with your users.

Hints and Tips for videoconferencing

Technology is now available that gives us a menu of options when it comes to videoconferencing. Skype, Zoom, WebEx, Facebook live, Facetime, Instagram and Google Meet are just a few of the more popular ones. As you utilize these tools for meetings and instruction, it's important that you preview these tools with the same lens that you would use for any software product.


When choosing what video conferencing tool to use, please keep in mind:


  • how easy are the tools to use for the end user.
  • tools are reliable and secure (have password features).
  • if these tools contain Personally Identifiable Information with students (this can include video), are they Ed Law 2D compliant.
  • If you are using these tools with children under 13, do these meet COPPA guidelines?(COPPA) https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/complying-coppa-frequently-asked-questions.
  • Utilize tools that part of suites (teams, google meet) that your district purchases and utilizes to ensure student data is secure and safe.
  • Ensure that you are adhering to Board Meeting guidelines (ADA compliance, transcripts etc.) for streaming meetings.

PBS remote learning

STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT AND NEW YORK’S PUBLIC TELEVISION STATIONS ANNOUNCE EXPANDED REMOTE LEARNING DURING STATEWIDE SCHOOL CLOSURE

Local Public Media Channels to Broadcast Educational Content for Pre-K to 12th Grade

New Remote Continuity of Learning Resources Website Launches


The New York State Education Department and New York’s nine public television stations announced today that expanded educational resources and “Learn-at-Home” programming is now available for all of New York’s students in response to school closings across the state. In addition, NYSED has launched a dedicated website featuring remote continuity of learning resources to provide districts and teachers with increased options.

Students from prekindergarten through 12th Grade will have access to PBS educational programming every weekday starting Monday, March 23rd on-air. These efforts will help ensure that all students can “Learn-at-Home", whether they have a computer or broadband at home.

“As we adapt to the ever-evolving situation around COVID-19, we’re seeing heroic efforts by educators and parents to ensure that children have equitable access to home-learning,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “Our partners at PBS have once again stepped up to provide easily accessible, high-quality educational resources for New York students and I encourage educators and parents to make use of these additional resources.”

“PBS has a long history of supporting teachers, parents and, most of all, children through its excellent educational programming and we’re proud to support and recommend these resources during the unprecedented school closures,” Interim Commissioner Shannon Tahoe said. “It’s crucial that we limit learning loss during this time as much as possible and these free instruction and learning resources offer ideas and inspiration for parents and educators across the state.”

“Online learning is not an option for a lot of kids at home because they lack access to broadband or a laptop,” said Bill McColgan, Chair of the Association of Public Broadcasting Stations of New York. “That’s why we are ensuring that all kids can access this at-home learning via our free, over-the-air broadcasts.”

PBS to Broadcast Educational Content for Pre-K Through 12th Grade


All nine public television stations in New York are providing “Learn-at-Home” enrichment for students through their broadcast stations and increased online educational resources.

Pre-K and young learners can still watch familiar shows like Sesame Street. Elementary student broadcast schedules include trusted programs like Wild Kratts, Peg + Cat, and Cyberchase. Middle school and high school programming include shows like Nova, History Detectives, and Shakespeare Uncovered. As always, many additional programs are also available to stream on the free PBS Video and PBS KIDS Video apps.

Since every PBS station in New York has multiple digital channels, programming will be available for young children (PreK to 4th Grade) and older children (5th to 12th Grade) on different digital channels. They can be viewed for free over-the-air with a television antenna or on cable.

“PBS ensures that its content is not only engaging, but aligned to state and national learning standards, so parents can feel comfortable knowing it’s going to reinforce what has been taught,” said Rachel Friedman, a Suffolk County teacher. “I am so glad that PBS is providing this so quickly in this crisis.”

Parents and educators should check local listings for their local public television stations for additional information on schedules and channel lineup. You can find your local PBS station by using the PBS Station Finder.

Local stations will also provide more specific educational information and resources developed in conjunction with local school districts, BOCES, parents, and teachers.
New York’s educators and parents can continue to access free educational resources that supplement and augment learning on the website, PBSLearningMedia.org. PBS LearningMedia provides original digital content and supplemental viewing guides for on-air programming that assist in learning. New special collections have been created for each grade level to make it easy for parents and teachers to select appropriate content if they are new to using the service. Webinars and online support materials have already been taking place and will continue to help educators make use of PBS LearningMedia as a distance learning tool.

For more information, please visit your local station:

Remote Instruction and Continuity of Learning Resources Website

NYSED’s remote Continuity of Learning Resources website is live now and includes options and examples of technology and non-technology-based resources for districts and schools, as they develop distance learning plans for students during closure due to the Novel Coronavirus.

Among many other resources, this new site features lists of digital content to enhance distance learning in a dozen subject areas including early learning, English Language Arts (ELA), Math, Physical Education, Science, Social Studies and Special Education. Educators will also find digital tools to assist in communicating with students and families and creating engaging instructional opportunities for students.

NYSED’s site also provides non-technological suggestions for schools and parents to consider when planning for continuity of learning. There are many ways students can continue learning that do not require access to a computing device.

NYSED will continue to update and add resources to this dedicated website as they become available.

Nvision Access

As you continue to focus on emergency planning, we would like to include some things to consider as you look at business operations. In the case district facilities are closed, we can provide our districts with remote access to nVision from either home or another remote location. This access will be provided on an individual basis to district staff. If a district closes or is planning to close, please notify us immediately. Any designated essential business office staff will be provided access upon approval of the district business official, superintendent, and/or person authorized to make nVision security change requests.


Below are a few things to keep in mind as each district prepares their own business continuity plan.



  • Determine which business office staff will provide essential functions and who can be designated to work remotely. For example, this could be payroll, treasurer or business official.
  • This may be a good time to strongly encourage staff to sign up for direct deposit so that paystubs can be e-mailed rather than physically printed.
  • Reminder: District staff are the only ones who can perform business office functions on behalf of districts. This would include processing payroll, printing checks (either payroll or AP), submitting NACHA files, ERS, TRS, or IRS files. District staff must perform bank, or wire transfers.
  • Standard checks can be printed on any printer, either at home or other remote location. Checks in small quantities can be handwritten.
  • We highly recommend that staff perform business functions and operations on district owned equipment to prevent any accidental data breaches.

  • We can provide our districts with remote access to the full version of nVision from either home or another remote location.

  • If you have any other questions regarding what accounting or payroll staff may need in order to work remotely, please let us know.



If there are extenuating circumstances that are not part of your planning, any requests should be made by the superintendent to Kelli Eckdahl, the EduTech Director.


All calls should be made to the EduTech helpdesk at 1-800-722-5797 Option 0.

Infinite Campus

Dear Valued Infinite Campus Client,

In these very unique times, we are reaching out to let you know how much we empathize with what you are going through. As an organization that exclusively serves our Infinite Campus K12 clients, now more than ever, we want you to know that we are here for you.

With each passing day of school building closures and the extension of your districts distance learning plan, please make sure that our communications are being made available to everyone on your distance learning team, from teachers to curriculum directors. These resources are designed to help provide you the information you may need to make the most use of Infinite Campus and Campus Learning in this very difficult time.

Below you will find resources specifically to aid in your distance learning program:

  • Districts with a Campus Learning license should share the Campus Learning Study Guide with teachers to assist in creating detailed assignments including online discussions, quick assessments, and digital submissions.

  • Districts without a Campus Learning license may activate and use these digital tools through the end of June 2020 at NO ADDITIONAL COST. 120+ districts have done so in the past week…your district should too!

· An administrator can activate Campus Learning by going to:

System Administration > Campus Learning > Campus Learning Licensing

Once Campus Learning is activated be sure to assign your teachers the additional tool rights.

  • Districts can visit Infinite Campus University (ICU) to view free, live trainings designed for teachers to leverage activities and communication with students and parents when students are not coming to the school buildings. Topics include; student submission editor, quick assessments, class/group discussions, scoring assignments, Google Drive, class messenger, and much more.
  • Teachers should visit campuslearning.com whether your district is taking advantage of Campus Learning or not. Teachers will find several links to Product Information, Teachers Blog, What’s New in Campus Learning, and a curated version of the Campus Community specifically for teachers.

· Campus Community- https://link.zixcentral.com/u/2c87f6d6/Fnq0E8tt6hGdlIgvC2wmKA?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.infinitecampus.com%2Fvideo%2Fcampus-community

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This resource provides all of your district staff easy access to thousands of resources and can help to quickly answer questions they may have about Infinite Campus. There are many ways in which staff can leverage this information depending upon their individual learning style with the Knowledge Base. Alternatively, search the Forums and communicate with thousands of your peers from across the Country that are sharing resources and providing support to one another in this challenging time.

  • Be sure to enable the Message Center for teachers so that they can have additional methods of communication with their students and guardians. Through the Process Inbox teachers can communicate through the Parent/Student Portal and the mobile app while also being able to email in just a few clicks!

  • For additional information on preparing for extended closures please follow this link for a brief recorded WebEx: Play recording (28 mins)

Naturally, these are just a few suggestions to help you and your staff be as efficient as is possible in this difficult situation. Please know we are here to help in any way that we can support you.

SchoolTool Webinars

Mindex is providing helpful information, but the guidance from NYSED will determine what is entered into the system.

In light of the challenges we’re facing, Mindex is offering a series of live webinar sessions designed to discuss topics that are most pertinent during this crisis. These are open to all RIC and district SchoolTool users, and of course there is no fee.

We ask that you pass this email on to any SchoolTool users that you think will benefit.

To join any of these sessions, simply click on this link: https://mindex.webex.com/meet/2020spring at the scheduled day/time.

Week 1: March 23-27

  • Utilizing Grade Notes for MP3
    • Session 2: Thursday, March 26 from 10-11AM
  • Options for Handling Attendance
    • Session 2: Friday, March 27 from 10-11AM

Week 2: March 30 - April 3

  • Communication Tools: Teacher Pages & Discussions
    • Session 1: Monday, March 30 from 2-3PM
    • Session 2: Thursday, April 2 from 10-11AM
  • Attendance Q&A
    • Session 1: Tuesday, March 31 from 2-3PM
    • Session 2: Friday, April 3 from 10-11AM


Week 3: April 6-10

  • Communication Tools: Actions Tab
    • Session 1: Monday, April 6 from 2-3PM
    • Session 2: Thursday, April 9 from 10-11AM
  • Grading Q&A
    • Session 1: Tuesday, April 7 from 2-3PM
    • Session 2: Friday, April 10 from 10-11AM

What to do about attendance?

Currently we have no guidance from NYSED on how to record the correct day calendar or attendance code for the time period that districts are taking off for the closures due to Covid-19. We have contacted NYSED and they are working on a solution. We will let you know how best to move forward as soon as we receive this guidance. IF you are making any changes in your student management system for day calendar or attendance, please keep track of those changes in case they need to be modified once we receive direction.

suspenstion of state testing

STATEMENT FROM BOARD OF REGENTS CHANCELLOR BETTY A. ROSA AND INTERIM STATE EDUCATION COMMISSIONER SHANNON TAHOE REGARDING ELEMENTARY- AND INTERMEDIATE-LEVEL STATE ASSESSMENTS

The school closures caused by Novel Coronavirus are unprecedented and so, we have to make unprecedented decisions for our students. The administrations of the 2020 elementary- and intermediate-level State assessments have been suspended for the remainder of this school year.

It is most important that during the time of closure, schools are able to continue to focus their efforts toward local school and community needs, as they have been doing, and not be concerned about State assessments. NYSED has applied for federal waivers for testing, accountability, and reporting requirements.

The priority for the Board of Regents and the Department is to ensure that districts provide continuity of instruction for students to the greatest extent possible. It is a critical component of school emergency management, as it promotes the continuation of teaching and learning and prevents learning loss while schools are closed. However, many considerations play a role in developing continuity of learning programs such as access and availability, type and quality of materials and the length of time that the various types of learning will require. We are working with districts now to receive and review their plans.

We are incredibly grateful to the educators who are devoted to developing these plans in the most equitable way possible and who have provided resources for parents and children.

NYSED continues to work with the Governor’s Office, the state Department of Health, the Division of Homeland Security and the Office of Children and Family Services to ensure that we are up to date on all guidance and all of our resources for schools related to COVID-19 can be found on NYSED's dedicated website.

Most of all, we hope that our students and educators are well. We are thankful for the devotion and ongoing leadership of our teachers, administrators, school board members and parents who have gone above and beyond so that students are safe and impacted as little as possible.

This suspension for the remainder of the school year applies to the following New York State testing programs:

  • New York State Grades 3-8 English Language Arts Test;
  • New York State Grades 3-8 Mathematics Test;
  • New York State Grade 4 Elementary-Level Science Test;
  • New York State Grade 8 Intermediate-Level Science Test;
  • New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) in Grades K-12; and
  • New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) for students with severe cognitive disabilities in Grades 3-8 and high school.

Help desk hours

As we monitor help desk calls, we are adjusting the support model during these times. The Help Desk will be operational from 7:00 am - 3:30 pm. Monday - Friday. Please feel free to call and leave messages from 3:30 - 4:30 and staff will follow up with you.


As always feel free to call the help desk at 1-800-722-5797 or email helpdesk@edutech.org

Microsoft Documents/Teams update

To best support our Microsoft 365 Education customers worldwide and accommodate new growth and demand during these unprecedented times, we are making a temporary adjustment to Office document behavior within Microsoft Teams for students and teachers.

[How does this affect me?]

For students and teachers working with Office documents in Microsoft Teams, we are beginning to roll out a temporary change where there will be an additional step in order to edit a document. This is a change from current behavior that allows users to go straight to edit mode when clicking on a document in the "Files" tab of a channel, a conversation, or from inside an assignment.

In all cases, upon clicking on the document, users will first see the document in view mode - they will be able to see the document content, but not make changes.

In order to edit the document, users need to click on the options in the top right of the white bar above the document content and select "Open in Browser" or (for users with Office for Windows installed on their device) "Open in Desktop App". This will open the document in Office in a separate window from Teams and allow the user to make changes.

[What do I need to do to prepare for this change?]

No action is necessary, this change will happen automatically. We recommend notifying users proactively if possible, so that they continue to understand how to edit their Word documents in Microsoft Teams without interruption.

Please click Additional Information to learn more.


Additional Information

AccelerateU continues to offer online Regents, AP, and elective courses on a rolling enrollment basis.

Adding students to our system and requesting courses is quick, and we can enroll within a day.

For students who have mastered part of a course, please follow these instructions:

  1. Visit our site (http://accelerateu.org) and click on "Course List"
  2. Download the syllabus
  3. Cross off what the student has already mastered
Send the syllabus back, and we will customize a course to meet that student's needs

Courier Service

EduTech deliveries will not occur if a district is closed. If there is an emergency or a special circumstance, please contact your project coordinator.


Equipment deliveries will be made by appointment to warehouse@edutech.org. Districts must be able to provide a contact number and on site staff to accept the delivery.

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