In Special Religious Instruction, where lessons are taken online, there are legal requirements to provide for the safety of the children participating. It behooves teachers, lecturers and lesson guides to take up the principle of “Protection of the Community” and put into practice appropriate eSafety Guidelines for your online Special Religious Instruction.
- This guide has been written in the context of increasing online and Zoom communication within SRI.
- Special Religious Instruction seeks to provide a positive, safe and caring on line environment for children and young people to meet each other and build friendships.
- The National Principles for Child Safe Organisations include Principle 8 which states that in a Child Safe Organisation: physical and online environments promote safety and wellbeing while minimising the opportunity for children and young people to be harmed.
Info for children and Students using Zoom and in the online environment
You need to be safe online and there are things you can do to enable this:
- Don’t share Zoom links for Special Religious Instruction (or Homeschooling) events publicly or on social media
- Use Zoom in an open environment e.g. kitchen or living room
- Check what is in your background and ensure you feel comfortable with what others can see
- Be aware of your clothing- that it is suitable for meeting with others
- If something happens which makes you feel uncomfortable, tell those to whom you are accountable to in your delivery of Special Religious Instruction, and advise school authorities
- Remember that you can leave a Zoom meeting at any time by clicking the red Leave Meeting button on your zoom screen
- Please ensure you have your correct name showing on your Zoom picture
Info for parents and carers of children and students
- You will receive the invitation and link to the gathering if your children are primary school aged- please assist them to join the meeting and monitor your child’s participation by staying nearby during the meeting.
- If your children are teenagers then you may feel comfortable leaving them to participate in the Zoom meeting by themselves.
- Ensure that there are two Special Religious Instruction accredited presenters in the session with the students before moving away from the session, if that is what you are planning to do
- Please ensure that children and students are zooming in an open environment, such as kitchen or living room
- Please talk about eSafety with your children and students.
- If you have any questions or concerns about an online event then please contact the Zoom meeting organiser or your Special Religious Instruction Supervisor.
- Please ensure your child has their correct name on their Zoom picture
Info for those running sessions with Children and Students
Prior to the session
- Please attach these guidelines to the invitation you send out.
- Develop a plan for dealing with unexpected visitors
- Develop a plan for dealing with unexpected behaviour for example, children who seem to be not engaged with the program
- Please send the invitation to parents and carers of children and to Children and Students with cc to their parents/ carers/ grandparents (whichever applies) and your Special Religious Instruction supervisors – who will be asked to pass on the information about the on line meetings, but not advertise the Zoom link to everyone. They may be asked to forward the invitation to any newly attending parents who may be interested.
- It is preferable to send the Meeting ID and password rather than a Zoom link. This means people have to name themselves prior to joining the meeting (so people in the meeting room will be easier to identify).
- In the invitation state how long the meeting will be and what you will be doing in the meeting.
- In the invitation send out ground rules for the meeting and agree on them at the meeting itself.
- Set up the Zoom account (or ask the account owner to set it up) so that recording is disabled- this is a safety precaution, and needs to be done prior to opening the session.
- Organising and hosting team develop a plan to deal with unexpected visitors and/or inappropriate behaviour or non-adherence to the rules. This is a bit like an online risk assessment.
- Arrive early to the meeting- enable the waiting room, which is a safety feature ensuring that only those who are expected to attend do attend.
2. In the session
- Introduce the adults, so the children or JYFs know who is running the meeting.
- Agree on the ground rules for the Meeting.
- After the session
- Reflect together on the session and children’s participation and safety-Is there any follow up necessary?
These guidelines are subject to amendment from time to time as required by State Child Protection Policies and Procedures.