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ECASD takes cybersecurity precautions

With the Eau Claire Area School District's nearly 12,000 students all having a device to aid in virtual learning this fall, there's a big emphasis on making sure those devices stay safe and secure.
With the Eau Claire Area School District's nearly 12,000 students all having a device to aid in virtual learning this fall, there's a big emphasis on making sure those devices stay safe and secure.(WEAU)
Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 3:56 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - With the Eau Claire Area School District’s nearly 12,000 students all having a device to aid in virtual learning this fall, there’s a big emphasis on making sure those devices stay safe and secure.

“We are acutely aware that with every crisis, there comes opportunities for folks to take advantage of it,” says ECASD Director of Technology James Martin.

While the school district has been putting an emphasis on keeping students safe from COVID-19, they are also making sure the school year isn’t derailed because of infected technology.

“We have recognized that cybersecurity is an important part of protecting the data for our students and data for our staff, and their presence online for many years,” Martin says.

Martin says there are filters on all devices sent home to students that block them from going to any website that has the risk of downloading a virus.

“If a student or staff member were to install something that would create some type of a risk to our environment, we do have a system in place that monitors our network traffic and looks for things that might be considered malware or viruses,” he says.

Another part of protecting the district’s tech is educating students through a program called Digital Citizenship.

“The internet is the wild wild west,” says ECASD Library Media Coordinator Caroline Akervik. “So we have to prepare our students to be safe online, to be critical thinkers and to be able to creatively construct.”

Akervik helps run the program that teaches kids how to safely navigate online.

“Kids are at home, they’re learning on screens and they have to be safe interacting with their peers,” she says. “We teach about cyberbullying and we teach about appropriate etiquette or netiquette.”

Martin says while a large part of their budget has been used to purchase enough devices for every district child, years of budget planning has the department ready for the upcoming school year.

“We are excited to support and scale to the needs of what our teachers are going to ask of us, and what our families and students are going to need of us.”

Copyright 2020 WEAU. All rights reserved.

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