WILTON \u2014 Amidst some concerns from parents, the Board of Education and school administration is seeking to clarify its intention with regard to changes in policy and regulations around remote learning. All Wilton public schools reopened Monday, Aug. 31, with full remote learning in anticipation of moving to a hybrid model beginning Sept. 8. At last Thursday\u2019s (Aug. 27) meeting, Superintendent of School Kevin Smith, however, had to try and clarify what he saw as some misunderstanding regarding the policy clarifications, which will probably be voted on at this Thursday\u2019s regular meeting. Like other districts nationwide, Wilton is re-crafting its policies in reaction to the online learning that became ubiquitous in the spring following the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent school closures \u2014 and is expected to continue for the indefinite future. \u201cThis is a policy that\u2019s been in existence for some time,\u201d Superintendent of Schools Kevin Smith said Thursday night. Demands from this new way of teaching, however\u2014in particular the broad concept of students\u2019 personal educational experiences and performances being veritably broadcast into people\u2019s homes\u2014has motivated school officials to do what they can to protect privacy while also not handicapping parents\u2019 ability to aid their students in the process. Policy changes under the heading of Real-Time Video Instruction Expectations mainly focus on two new sections\u2014one of which is geared towards students, while the other more broadly speaks to others involved. \u201cWe\u2019re not permitting students to record audio or video sessions \u2026 We\u2019re also prohibiting students from taking screenshots or other materials that they can share with others,\u201d Smith said. Likewise, he said, they\u2019re expected to abide by the rudiments of online etiquette, including taking turns, muting their microphones when they\u2019re not speaking, and generally being respectful of others. \u201cIt should be the same as if they\u2019re in their physical classroom,\u201d he said. But students aren\u2019t the only variable in the equation, as adult caregivers will potentially be privy to the same live-action information. That\u2019s why he is also proposing the second piece, which broadly goes under the umbrella of guidelines for blended learning, and specifically speaks to caregivers. \u201cIndividuals in the home other than the student are not permitted to participate in or be visible on the videoconference, or otherwise observe the lesson, other than reasonable adult supervision of the student,\u201d the proposed policy reads. Prior to last week\u2019s board meeting, Smith received several emails that he said expressed concerns and misunderstanding regarding the wording. \u201cWe\u2019re not telling them that they can\u2019t help their kids at home,\u201d he said, but the worry is that they could potentially interfere with goings-on in the virtual classroom or \u2014 worse yet \u2014 could circulate information about other students. At Thursday\u2019s meeting during public comment several parents expressed great concern, in particular for elementary-age students, who may struggle with the technology as well as their focus. \u201cWhile I understand that teachers cannot handle additional family members disrupting class,\u201d wrote parents Anna Williams and Jerry Griffin, \u201cthe idea that a five-year-old without adequate technology or reading skills, approaching the start of their school life, should be left alone in a room to manage their online education is absolutely absurd.\u201d \u201cEach group has its own needs,\u201d said wrote parent Kate Baldwin, advocating for different guidelines for different age groups. \u201cThey are not the same.\u201d \u201cAsking parents to abandon their young children on the first day of distance learning, on a new platform, and\/or in a new school is to say children\u2019s mental well-being is negligible,\u201d she wrote. \u201cWhat we are aiming to do here is strike a balance,\u201d said Smith, emphasizing that the district wasn\u2019t trying to keep parents from helping students. \u201cWe certainly understand and want to support parents who are at home with our youngest learners and need to support them as they are engaged in remote learning,\u201d he said. \u201cThe ask is really one of maintaining confidentiality about other children in the classroom,\u201d added Fran Kompar, director of digital learning. One disgruntled parent bluntly accused the district of using secrecy to teach students things that, he said, then need to be \u201cuntaught at home.\u201d \u201cThe issue is not privacy,\u201d wrote Mike McCormick. \u201cIt is that the BOE and teachers don\u2019t want their parent to hear that they are (once again) teaching LGBTQIAP Bingo and related concepts, nonsense, and other things.\u201d \u201cThis school district hides behind privacy for any question it does not want to answer,\u201d he wrote, saying the recent changes to the plan \u201cdon\u2019t pass the sniff test.\u201d \u201cThat you are advocating that no parent can \u2018listen in\u2019 to remote classes is outrageous,\u201d McCormick wrote. Whether Smith\u2019s clarification assuaged parent concerns is yet to be determined, but the answer will likely come on Thursday, Sept. 3, when the board will potentially vote on adopting the changes.