In most cases, a district can require a teacher or other employee to use Zoom or a similar platform.
Distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has required educators to adapt. One of the most common new tools is Zoom, a platform that allows virtual group interactions. Zoom and other similar platforms provide the means to have meetings, such as learning community, grade level, or subject area meetings, between educators. It can also be used to provide group instruction, creating a virtual classroom.
Although these platforms provide great opportunities, teachers and other employees are often anxious with the prospect of using them. The fears range from concerns that the interactions may be recorded and then used negatively in some way, concerns regarding confidentiality, or simply not being comfortable with the prospect of seeing oneself on camera. This latter concern is common enough that the term "Zoom anxiety" has now entered the English language.
While there were early, well-documented security issues with Zoom, those issues were quickly addressed, and the education community, including TEA, has expressed confidence that it can be safely used by teachers, as long as basic security measures are taken. (See Zoom Security Tips and Best Practices for Teachers for guidance on the safe use of Zoom.)
Teachers and other school employees should not use Zoom or any other platform without first receiving authorization from the appropriate administrator, usually their principal. But if that has been received, there is actually very little difference between using Zoom to interact with co-workers, students, or parents and having face-to-face interactions.