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Bend-La Pine Schools monitor virtual absenteeism amid online classes

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ)-- School attendance is especially important, not just for the children's success, but because state funding of schools is based in part on how many students are attending classes.

Now that classes are being held virtually due to COVID-19, how well is student attendance being monitored?

At Cascade Middle School in Bend, attendance is taken every day and every period, no different than in-person sessions.

Like many Bend-La Pine schools, they are monitoring attendance in two ways. Teachers are checking to see which students are present in online sessions, and also are monitoring attendance through assigned coursework.

Students have essentially a 24-hour window for attendance. 

Cascade Middle School Principal Stephen Duvall said, "We really didn't know what to expect, because it's just such a new format, but we looked at our reports, and we're hovering around that 95 percent attendance now in these first few weeks."

Traditionally, after the first week of the new school year, schools record which students are not attending certain classes or have changed schools.

Duvall said they have seen a drop from projected enrollment to the student count now, as some parents have decided to take their children to other schools or solely participate in online learning.

In fact, district-wide online enrollment jumped from 50 to 600 for elementary students. 

He said right now, the schools are focused on making sure students and their parents are completely set up for virtual learning.

"We've really focused here on making sure we are not just rushing into school for the sake of school," Duvall said. "We are really trying to make sure that our families and our kids are understanding the schedule, how to connect digitally, how to turn in assignments, how to have conversations with their peers."

Students who are not attending online sessions and completing assignments regularly will have to meet with advisory instructors and could face more disciplinary actions if absences continue.

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Arielle Brumfield

Arielle Brumfield is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Arielle here.


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