Coronavirus and Schools: Google Voice Accounts for Teachers (Follow Up)
We received some follow up questions regarding our e-mail on Friday about Google Voice – we have complied them into one message for brevity:
The Voice Acceptable Use Policy prohibits using a personal Google Voice number for sending large amounts of personal or automated messages (essentially telemarketing or robocalls), but the terms don’t prohibit the type of use contemplated here. There is little difference in a teacher using his/her personal cell phone versus using his/her personal Google Voice account to make calls. We view this as a teacher driven decision based upon their own concerns about keeping their personal number private.
What about text messages? We forbid Google Voice accounts with staff simply because we didn’t want people developing communication habits with non-district systems. Voice lets you do SMS, voicemail to email, and a bunch of other stuff that’s not actually voice based.
Correct – we do not want teachers or staff using Google Voice to text students or parents, or to send e-mails from personal e-mail accounts. We are comfortable with using the voice feature in lieu of a standard personal voice number (even though that will include voicemail). Teachers and staff should be consistently reminded that written communications about school district business should be through approved school district resources only (whether e-mail, Classdojo, Google classroom, etc.). If you do allow teachers and staff to use Google Voice, you should emphasize that they should not text or e-mail from their personal account and that Google Voice use should be limited to voice calls only.
Google Voice does data mine transcripts and messaging from free accounts in the system. As we’re not sure what kind of PII is captured, is that a concern?