DOE bans schools using Zoom for remote learning amid security concerns

The city’s Department of Education has barred teachers and administrators from using the video conferencing platform Zoom for remote learning purposes over concerns about security breaches — such as “Zoom-bombers” who hijack the chat rooms.

In a Sunday memo obtained by The Post, DOE Chief Operating Officer Ursulina Ramirez informed principals that Zoom should no longer be used — and that the platform should be replaced with Google Hangouts Meet or Microsoft Teams.

“We know how hard you and your staff are working to make remote learning a reality for students and families, and appreciate the ways in which you’re going above and beyond every day. We also know you share our concern for student safety,” the letter reads.

The letter goes on to say, “If you are currently using Zoom for video conferencing, we are ready to support you in a transition as quickly as possible.”

Big Apple educators began using Zoom to remotely teach students after all city school buildings shuttered on Mar.16 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Some of this might feel like a sudden transition, but we are here to support you.” Ramirez wrote. “We know how hard you and your staff worked to quickly acclimate to videoconferencing tools, and we urgently worked over the weekend to preserve some widely used options while establishing clarity on those that pose a risk to privacy or security.”

The letter states that the alternatives to Zoom like Google Hangout Meets “are safe to use” for remote learning.

“In the coming days, we’ll share detailed how-to documents for your teachers and families to support the transition to Google Meet and/or Microsoft Teams,” Ramirez wrote. “In the meantime, your priority should be continuing instruction and services to your students.”

There have been recent reports of hackers “Zoom-bombing” or hijacking video conferences on the Zoom platform.

Still, some DOE employees expressed frustration with having to transition to a new platform for remote learning after many already spent weeks adapting to the new way of teaching.

“While I understand there were security issues with Zoom, we are in an unprecedented time and state or urgency,” one administrator told The Post.

“Educators came up with online learning plans and communities for their students with zero guidance and zero input from the DOE,” the school official said. “Many teachers established ongoing Zoom lessons with their students.”

The administrator added, “It took countless phone calls and steps outlining how to access these virtual platforms for parents and families, and now we have to change it and start from scratch again.”

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