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Communicating with Parents and Guardians about Google Workspace for Education

At Google, we believe it’s important for parents (which we’ll use in this article to include guardians) to understand how their children use Google services in the classroom. This article will help schools that use Google Workspace for Education ensure that they can communicate effectively with parents and guardians about their students’ use of Google services and any third-party services (sometimes referred to as third party offerings) accessed with Google Workspace for Education accounts, and help obtain parents’ consent where appropriate.  
 
Because school administrators can determine which services are available and the policies for each service, each school’s use of Google Workspace for Education is different. We believe that schools are in the best position to tailor the information they share with parents based on their school’s actual use of Google services. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but Google aims to give schools the information they need about our services and our privacy and security practices so they can keep parents well informed. 
 
Google Workspace for Education schools can follow the steps below to help parents understand how the school uses Google services, what information Google gets when they use these services, and how Google uses that information. If schools choose to enable student access to third-party services with the students’ Google Workspace for Education account, the school should also provide notice to parents regarding those services and obtain consent as required.

1. Determine which Google services your school will use

Google Workspace for Education offers two categories of Google services: Core Services (like Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and Classroom) that are provided under your school’s Google Workspace for Education agreement, and Additional Services (like YouTube and Maps) that can be used with Google Workspace for Education accounts if allowed for educational purposes by a school’s domain administrator.  This article explains more about the differences between Core and Additional Services.
 
Google Workspace for Education administrators can manage which Core and Additional Services their users can access with their accounts. Schools should note which services they allow users under 18 to access, so they can share information about those services with parents.

2. Get parent or guardian consent where appropriate

Schools may need or want to get a parent or guardian’s consent for the Google services they allow students to access. For schools in the United States, Google provides this template to help them do that, but it’s up to schools to determine how best to use it, to fill it with their own contact information and information about the services they enable, and to share it along with the resources for parents below.

  • Additional Services require consent for minor users—Google Workspace for Education requires in its agreement (section 3.5) that schools obtain parent or guardian consent for any Additional Services they allow students under the age of 18 to use.
  • Schools may opt to get consent for Core Services as well—As a best practice, schools may also want to get parent or guardian consent for the Core Services they enable. Otherwise, a school would provide consent for Core Services on parents’ behalf by signing up for and using these Google Workspace for Education services.

If you allow users under the age of 18 to access third-party services with their Google Workspace for Education account, it is the school's responsibility to get parental consent, as required, before allowing the students to access third-party services.

Resources to share with parents and guardians

In addition to the template notice above, we recommend that schools share the resources listed below with parents and guardians as part of getting their consent:

Schools in different countries and communities have different regulations and approaches, and Google cannot advise you on compliance with the laws applicable to your school. You should obtain parental consent in a manner that complies with the laws of your jurisdiction.

Possible errors

As administrator, parents might contact you about error messages they get when trying to add a Google Workspace for Education account to a personal Android device with a pre-existing Google Account managed with Family Link. These errors mainly occur when the child's Google Account is managed by Family Link and the school account is subject to mobile device management (MDM) by the school’s administrator.

The errors might state “Couldn't sign in, There was a problem communicating with Google servers. Try again later”. Or, “Your Google Workspace for Education account, which is managed by the school administrator, can’t be added to this device. This device is already managed through Family Link and can have only 1 manager.”

We recommend:

  1. You set MDM to Basic, not Advanced, for the student organizational unit.
  2. Or, you create a separate organizational unit for BYOD students and set MDM to Basic.

We do not recommend turning off MDM.

Google Workspace for Education Additional Services & Parental Consent

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