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    2020-21 Remote Learning Attendance

    Posted 9/17/2020

    Attendance is a foundational part of strong teaching and learning. As part of our commitment to the learning needs of every child, schools will be monitoring and recording daily attendance.

    Seattle Public Schools does not believe that attendance should be used as a punitive measure, especially during this time of remote learning. The purpose of taking daily attendance is to provide educators with meaningful data that signals when a student is missing instructional time.

    Schools will be working to fully understand the reason for an absence before marking attendance records. If a student demonstrates a pattern of repeated absences, schools will provide supports for families and students to effectively engage in remote learning.

    Attendance FAQ

    What is the definition of attendance during remote learning?

    Students' participation in live classes as well as working 'asynchronously,' or independently on planned learning activities and assignments, will count as a student being present for attendance.

    The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has provided examples of what student participation could look like in order to be counted as present, including, but not limited to:

    • Daily logins to learning management systems and completion of meaningful learning activities;
    • Daily interactions with teacher(s) to acknowledge attendance (including messages, emails, phone calls, or video chats); or
    • Evidence of participation in a task or assignment. Student presence is determined by engaging in planned synchronous or asynchronous activities.

    For full guidance regarding attendance during remote learning, please visit OSPI's website.


    What types of absences are there during remote learning?

    Students will either be recorded as "present" or "absent." Students will not be marked late or tardy during this period of 100% online learning. There are excused and unexcused absences.

    Absences due to the following COVID-19 causes will be considered excused:

    • Student or family health issues
    • Caring for a family member
    • Student's employment or other family obligations during scheduled school hours
    • Lack of necessary instructional tools (e.g., internet connectivity)
    • Parent work schedule

    For the full list of what qualifies as an excused absence, open the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) document.


    What is the process if a student is believed to be absent?

    Absences should not be recorded until staff has taken action to reach out and connect with the student and family to better understand the student's learning experience and ensure that the student has not participated in planned asynchronous, or independent learning activities during the school day or during off-schedule school hours.

    The school must apply OSPI requirements and district guidelines to determine excused and unexcused absences. Schools will take several different steps, summarized below, if they believe a student was absent.

    If a student is believed to have an unexcused absence, school staff will work to:

    • Determine if planned asynchronous learning activities occurred by checking Schoology activity, emailing or having a phone call with the family, checking for completed assignments, etc.
    • Follow district guidelines to determine if the absence is excused or unexcused.
    • Ensure attendance, once verified, is updated.
    • Notify the family of an unexcused absence.
    • Collaborate with the student and family to develop a plan of support, if necessary.
    • Monitor results and adjust the support plan when needed.

    Families are an integral part of successful remote learning. If families have questions about their student's attendance, or believe they received a notification of an unexcused absence in error, please contact the student's teacher (elementary) or the school attendance office (secondary).

    Find answers to frequently asked Fall 2020 remote learning questions.