Principal Pugh's Distance Learning Message to Parents - April 5, 2020

Principal Samantha Pugh
Dear Merrick Families and Community,

I hope that you are all well and safe. We would like to thank each and every one of you for your continued support of Merrick as we are going into our third week of our Distance Learning Program. We know that the level of rigor and the technological platforms have been demanding, but we are confident that this is the best for our scholars and will support them to continue to strive for excellence.
On Saturday, April 4th , NYC DOE schools’ chancellor, Richard Carranza ordered teachers to stop using the video conferencing platform Zoom and Google classrooms citing that there were reports of security breaches. As you are all aware, these two platforms have been integral to our Distance Learning Program. We were aware of the potential breaches and other security concerns. As a result, last week we made adjustments to ensure the safety and privacy of our scholars and staff members. Therefore, Merrick Academy will continue to use these two platforms.
Last week, the FBI issued a report and made recommendations to ensure the safety of our
scholars. Our culture team reviewed these recommendations and implemented the following

Do not make meetings or classrooms public. In Zoom, there are two options to make a
meeting private: require a meeting password or use the waiting room feature and
control the admittance of guests.

Do not share a link to a teleconference or classroom on an unrestricted publicly
available social media post. Provide the link directly to specific people.

Manage screen sharing options. In Zoom, change screen sharing to “Host Only.”

Ensure users are using the updated version of remote access/meeting applications. In
January 2020, Zoom updated their software. In their security update, the teleconference
software provider added passwords by default for meetings and disabled the ability to
randomly scan for meetings to join.

We will continue to be diligent and exercise all known precautionary measures to ensure the safety and security of our community. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
Thank you.
In partnership,
Principal Pugh