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Zoom's new focus mode aims to keep students' eyes up front

The setting will let teachers limit which screens students can see.

Welcome, students, to the new Zoom.

Zoom's newest feature, called focus mode, could help online classrooms stay more focused as the school year starts up. Zoom announced the new mode on Wednesday, alongside a number of other education-oriented updates to its video-calling platform.

Focus mode acts as a filter for students in an online classroom. Teachers can see all of their students, but students can't see their classmates. It's a way, according to Zoom, of helping students focus more on instruction and less on their peers or on their own appearance.

The new features come as the school year approaches and as COVID-19 cases continue to rise amid the delta variant. School districts across the country are making last-minute decisions about whether classes will happen in-person, remotely or in a hybrid of the two -- and Zoom appears to be gearing up just in case.