POINT PLEASANT — At the most recent meeting of the Mason County Board of Education, Curriculum/Technology Director Greg Martin informed board members of the Internet activity among Mason County Schools’ students and staff.
Martin began by explaining the bandwidth for each county school, noting that Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High has the most, considering it is the largest school and also includes the Mason County Career Center, and relaying Mason County Schools has 3,911 devices to 4,315 students. He also discussed wireless Internet among the schools, saying there are wireless access points at every school, and that next school year will provide expanded wireless coverage.
Martin continued, saying there are approximately 3,000 users online among Mason County Schools at the peak of Internet usage as well as discussing the different website filters and procedures for allowing a previously blocked site. Martin said the five filter groups are as follows: kindergarten through second grade, third through fifth grade, sixth through twelfth grade, teachers, and the central office.
Martin also discussed the procedure for unblocking certain websites, saying the current filter system includes very broad categories and some sites with educational games are blocked at first because it falls under the category of “games.” Martin said a teacher simply needs to email him to unblock the site, and if it is deemed to be educational, it will be unblocked. Martin said the approval rate for un-blocking websites is around 99 percent. Martin said he has denied access to sites such as Facebook, Netflix and some music sites.
Board member Randy Searls also mentioned some staff members had stated their access during their planning and lunch periods to be restricted. Martin recalled some situations, particularly around the holidays, when there were requests for access to online shopping sites, which he did not grant access to. Martin continued, saying the teacher’s planning period is specially set to allow the teacher to plan lessons and activities for their classroom and their students, reinforcing the board’s set policies and the idea that teachers are at the school to teach, not to take care of their own personal business.
(Note: More on this meeting will appear in a later edition of the Point Pleasant Register.)