Remote learning presents a host of benefits and challenges for students, parents, and teachers in Illinois. But the government has a legal obligation to ensure all students are provided equal access to adequate education -- even during a global pandemic. In order to meet this obligation, many schools are turning to new technology systems and platforms to create a "virtual classroom" for students.

While education-technologies ("ed-tech") can be helpful in bridging some access-to-learning issues, it also presents numerous concerns for students’ privacy. Whether online or in person, schools should be a safe place for students to learn and grow. Students should not be victim to invasive and harmful technology while studying. Yet, we are seeing new ed-tech across the state that runs the risk of tracking student activity online, invading their privacy, and potentially harming them or their family members.

The ACLU of Illinois joined a table of advocacy groups focused on education privacy in our state, and participated in the drafting of a set of policy recommendations that can aid schools as they venture into another semester of remote learning. These recommendations are intended to serve as a resource for students, families, teachers, administrators, school board members and others. These recommendations aim to balance the needs of educators with the privacy rights of students to create a safe remote learning experience.