This Remote Learning Protocol offers guidance for staff within the day program and recreational departments to help manage potentially challenging situations during online remote sessions (Zoom classes) that impinge on the respect, dignity, and safety of those participating

Each potentially challenging scenario can vary greatly; this depends on frequency and intensity of behaviors. As a result, assessment of each situation (per the Remote Learning Protocol below) as it occurs will require some level of assessment to perform best action and may cause overlap between the recommended steps below.

Planning Stages

It is important for staff to prepare early to minimize the risk of class disruption

  • Preparation for curriculum will be pre-planned.
  • Directors must have an overall awareness and knowledge of the curriculum being presented via Zoom.
  • Video & audio recording of Zoom sessions are not permitted by any individual or staff persons without prior authorization from Director of Day Services.
  • Any approval given for promotional or marketing purposes must be discussed with the Senior Leadership team first and guardian consent must be requested.
  • To help minimize disruption to classroom activities, staff may need to build-in short breaks to allow social interactions between peers. In some instances where a break is not possible, staff may assist or recommend an alternative online or social media. setting for peers and friends to communicate outside of Communitas classes.
  • Each class will begin with a review of the rules and expectations of each online class as well as an introduction to the curriculum set for that session.
  • Documentation on attendance, including day, time and duration of the class will be taken to allow for appropriate billing purposes.
  • During remote sessions staff will continually assess and make recommendations towards individual DHSP and ISP goals and document appropriately according to MassHealth and DDS regulations.
Assisting individuals to participate
  • Anyone assisting or helping individuals to participate in online classes (such as family members, guardians, friends, outside agency workers etc.) should not verbally or physically engage with the class unless speaking on behalf of that individual, if that individual cannot communicate what they want to relay themselves. 
  • Interactions should be appropriate, on topic, and relevant to the activity being facilitated.
  • Instances where the helper’s communication is unrelated to the current activity, staff should provide one immediate prompt to redirect the helper to address their issues or concerns separately by calling or emailing the program supervisor once the class has ended.
  • In instances where the helper is persistent and not following the request, staff may disconnect them from the class and follow up once the session has ended.
  • Instances where the helper engages in inappropriate behavior immediately as class begins, staff may forgo the prompt and disconnect them immediately.

During each remote session staff will continually assess and monitor for in appropriate engagement. When a behavior occurs that is deemed inappropriate for Zoom classes, staff should use the following guidelines of the Remote Learning Protocol to assist in the management of situations.

Low intensity

 “Low intensity behavior” may include:

  • Arguing between individuals
  • Mild usage of inappropriate language
  • Shouting out loud or at others
  • Name calling
  • Participants distracting others by speaking over people or wanting to chat with others during the class time.
  • Any other behaviors known to be or identified as attention seeking

When these behaviors are displayed by either a family member or participant during a zoom class the following actions may be implemented:

  • Staff may offer an initial reminder to stop that behavior
  • If behavior is ignored or persists, staff may offer one additional reminder to comply with the request
  • Compliance is still not obtained, staff may mute that person from being heard.
  • Behavior escalates or staff feel that they have offered sufficient number of reminders to stop, they may disconnect them from group.
  • The individual may be suspended for the rest of the duration of the class but will be allowed to resume remote services on the next available class offered
Medium intensity

 “medium intensity behavior” may include.

  • engaging in alcohol, drug, or substance abuse
  • disrobing
  • appearing fully or partially undressed or nude
  • using the bathroom on screen

In the event of these behaviors being presented, there are 3 scenario options available to follow

  1. staff should switch off the video screen immediately and determine if it is appropriate to leave the audio on to verbally warn individual to correct their behavior.
  2.  immediately switch off video and warn that person to correct behavior by audio or instant message.
  3. to disconnect them from Zoom class and follow up with a phone call to correct behavior. (This may sometimes be viable only after zoom session has ended.)

In each of these cases an incident report should be made, and participants should not return to Zoom classes until a plan to correct behavior has been agreed up.

High Intensity

 “high intensity behavior” may include

  • Arguments between an individuals and family member that cause distraction to the class 
  • Using extreme profane language or swearing
  • Overall and continual disruption of class via noncompliance of rules presented
  • Inappropriately consistent verbal or visual gestures/signs
  • Engaging in sexual inuendo or sexually explicit behavior
  • Verbal abuse towards staff, individual or agency by family member/ guardian during a class session
In each of these cases participants should be immediately removed and disconnected from the Zoom class.
  • Staff must follow up with an incident report and inform their supervisor.
  • The program Director/supervisor must follow up with a call to the family to discuss any concerns or issues relating to non-compliance of remote services rules.
  • A documented agreement will be developed between Communitas and the individual/family member before they can resume to remote services.
  • This agreement this must be approved by the Director of Day Service before reinstatement.

For other Day Services protocols, click here.