State school heads who block teachers from hosting live online lessons due to privacy concerns have sparked confusion among critics who ask why educators can’t just pick a blank background.
Headteachers claim live-streaming lessons from inside a teacher’s home is a ‘huge invasion of privacy’ and takes away ‘professional distance’.
And teachers’ union NASUWT is strongly advising members to avoid live lessons unless there are measures in place to stop privacy breaches.
But many have asked why teachers don’t utilise Zoom’s ‘virtual background’ feature – or present in front of a blank wall.
Zoom offers users the option to pick from a set selection of ‘sample backgrounds’ or upload their own – meaning the user’s face can appear in front of any image they choose.
Others have asked why teachers don’t go into schools to teach their remote lessons from an empty classroom.
Chris McGovern, chairman of The Campaign for Real Education, said school heads banning Zoom is the fault of over-zealous teaching unions.
He told MailOnline: ‘Of course you can change a background. They are finding problems where no problems exist.
‘It is teachers looking for reasons to keep schools closed as part of a political battle with the Government.
‘Here we are looking after children’s futures. It seems that for a very minor aspect of this problem they are prepared to sacrifice children’s futures, particularly underprivileged children.’
He blames unions for creating ‘an atmosphere of threat and intimidation’ which puts pressure on teachers, adding: ‘I don’t think teachers should be seen as pawns in a political battle’.
Pauline Wood, head teacher at Grange Park Primary School in Sunderland, said she was ‘at a loss’ as to how live Zoom lessons could be deemed a privacy breach.
She told MailOnline: ‘Teachers can set up their own devices in a position which suits them surely?
‘If in school, it is no different from a regular lesson. If at home, choose a blank background.’
Militant teaching unions – which strongly urged teachers not to live-stream lessons last summer – said teachers must be able to choose whether to live-stream lessons or not and that it should only be used ‘when essential’.
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SOURCE: Daily Mail, Jemma Carr, Luke May, Michael Powell, and Julie Henry