With the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe, executive order, many schools made the switch to educating their students online. With receiving an education at home comes online lessons and online meetings. With online meetings comes online etiquette, especially for those who must utilize their webcams for lessons or meetings.

When one must be online working on their webcam, what are some specific forms of etiquette one must utilize? Please allow me to be so bold as to make a few suggestions for all those school-aged individuals who are having classes online:

Dress appropriately. I would recommend dressing professionally. A shirt is a must, even for males. For students, a T-shirt will suffice (with nothing inappropriate or offensive on it) as the bare minimum for most online meetings. Even though others in the meeting may not be able to see you from the waist down, one should also wear appropriate pants. It is also recommended that one does not look like they just stepped out of bed wearing their pajamas and having unkempt hair.

Make sure your camera is set up in a professional looking area. Please be aware of what is in the background. One does not want something in the background that is inappropriate. It is recommended you do not sit in front of a large window as the glare often makes it hard to see you.

Try to make sure there is a minimum amount of distractions. Loud televisions or radios, barking dogs, and screaming siblings can get in the way of the task at hand. Also, do not be distracted by your phone or any other items that may be in close proximity to you. When you are in a meeting with someone whether online or in person, it is best to keep distractions at a distance out of professional courtesy.

If you are in a group meeting, please make sure to keep quiet while others are talking or keep your microphone muted. Often, a wave of the hand, a nod of the head, or a thumbs up is enough communication to let your teacher know you are following along with the meeting.

It is recommended that you do not eat during an online meeting. Drinking of water or soda is acceptable, just don’t spill it on your keyboard.

Make sure you actually attend the meeting. Teachers only have so much time in a day and it is very difficult for busy staff members to schedule additional meetings.

Please be on time for the meeting and do your best to stay until the end. If your meeting starts at 1 p.m. You should be logged in by 12:55 p.m. so you are ready to go.

Make sure you are sitting appropriately so the person you are online with can see you throughout the meeting. Pretend you are meeting in person. One would not lie down or sit in an inappropriate position if you were meeting in person.

It is highly recommended that one is prepared for the meeting by having their work completed and ready to go. Having all necessary class materials and noting questions in advance that you will want to ask helps the meeting run even more smoothly.

For parents: When your school-aged children are online working with an adult or even with other students, it would be prudent for an adult to be in proximity to their children to monitor their activity. We can never be too safe in supervising our children while they are online whether it is with an adult or their peers.

If students follow these simple suggestions, they are sure to have an efficient, professional and productive online meeting. Make sure to stay safe during these unique and uncertain times. If I missed any tips on having a professional online meeting for students, please feel free to share your suggestions with me at randyhodge@portlandstpats.org.

— Randy L. Hodge is principal of St. Patrick Catholic School.