Prince William Schools to Request Cameras on During Virtual Classes


Photo by Ashleigh Henegar

Prince William County Schools is asking that students keep their cameras on during Zoom classes whenever possible. Some PWCS parents already received notification. For others, the notice may come later in the week.

“Body language and visual cues,” are essential to “teacher-student interaction,” reads the message; having cameras off presents “difficulties” for teachers trying to assess student engagement during classes.

According to the message Battlefield High School sent to its parents, Monday, school administrators received the memo on Oct. 19. Tuesday, teachers and staff throughout the school division received the message via a division communication service.

The common part of the message is as follows:

“Good communication is essential to learning. Body language and visual cues are a substantial part of the teacher-student learning interaction. In our present environment, many concerns have been expressed about students remaining off camera and the difficulty it presents teachers in assessing engagement and understanding in real time. Teachers monitoring and adjusting instruction based on student needs is an important part of the instruction and learning process.”

“To ensure that students are engaged and teachers are able to be responsive to the needs of their students, cameras are expected to be on whenever it is possible or practicable. Students and/or parents of students with unique circumstances, related to their environment, personal needs, or technology, that make an on-camera presence not practical are asked to confer with their teacher(s) and/or school administrator so accommodations can be made to ensure that the student(s) will be properly engaged and participating in lessons while not visible to the teacher. Otherwise, cameras should be on and students visually present for live virtual lessons.”


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