Elementary Remote School Attendance Guidelines for 2020-2021 school year

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) preexisting attendance policy states: a student must be at school, at a school related activity, or receiving academic instruction for at least half the school day to be counted as present.  This policy has not changed for the 2020-21 school year. 


DESE Guidance:


Every school/district will ensure the method of collecting and reporting attendance is consistent across classrooms and clearly communicated to students and families.


Students will be marked absent:

  • If they cannot be reached.
  • If they convey they are unable to participate that day.
  • If they participate in less than half of the day’s scheduled structured learning time activities. 

When entering attendance into PowerSchool, confirm that students have participated in at least half of each day’s scheduled structured learning time activities.*  

*Defined by DESE as “time during which students are engaged in regularly scheduled instruction, learning activities, or learning assessments within the curriculum for study of the ‘core subjects’ and ‘other subjects.” 

Elementary Remote Learning Attendance Procedure 

Teachers will check student participation in remote learning at a minimum 3 times daily to ensure student attendance. Once, first thing in the morning, once mid-day, and once near the end of the day.


  1. Take daily attendance at morning meetings.


  • If a student has not logged in by 9:15am, mark the student tardy in powerschool.
  • Around 9:30am, building secretaries will send an email notification to parents/caregivers of students who are absent at morning meetings to identify the reason for absence and to provide support. 


  • Teachers will take mid day attendance during another synchronous lesson and record. Follow up check-ins can be provided as necessary for those students who have not logged in. 


  • For afternoon attendance, teachers can either:
    • Take attendance during an afternoon synchronous session and record it 
    • If most of the afternoon schedule includes asynchronous activities, teachers will check in to ensure students’ attendance/ participation. This can happen during “help desk” time or  at the end of the day and by reviewing submitted assignments. 


Check-ins (as defined by the state) can include:

  • Conversations with students
  • Submitted assignments*
  • Parent/caregiver communication


*Quality of submitted assignment is not factored into attendance. Assessment of Learning and Attendance are to be kept separate.


  • Attendance is taken during each art, music, PE, and health class on Wednesday. Students not attending 2 or more specials will be marked absent for the day.


  • Final attendance for the day will be entered into PowerSchool by all teachers by 3:30pm.


Attendance reports are part of a students educational record and will be shared with families. 





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