The Howard County Board of Education is scheduled to meet today at 4:30pm for a work session on the “Fall Reopening Report”. There is a document outlining the 2020 HCPSS Draft Reopening Plan that has been shared around social media. The 139 page PDF has a great many details…the one item I was initially interested in seeing was the plan for attendance with “Virtual Learning” for the upcoming school year.
Here is what is noted in the document: (on page 12 of the document and page 14 of the PDF).
Attendance and Grading
Student attendance for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday instruction will occur as follows:
- At the elementary level, both the homeroom teacher and mathematics teacher will take attendance, noting whether students were present online for synchronous instruction.
- At the middle and high school level, each teacher will take period attendance, noting whether students were present online for synchronous instruction.
- Daily attendance will be based on teacher-recorded attendance for the entire school day.
- If there is technical difficulty, a student may submit asynchronous work for a particular day to receive credit for attendance.
Student attendance for Wednesday instruction will occur as follows:
- A student will be counted as present if they do one or more of the following:
- ○ Submit an assignment to one of their teachers
- ○ Engage in synchronous instruction or tutoring with an HCPSS teacher
- ○ Meet online with an HCPSS teacher or service provider
- ○ Complete work in the Canvas learning management system, DreamBox or Lexia Core5
I have written a few times about concerns about how attendance will be taken and recorded:
- July 15 – Will the Howard County Board of Education consider possible limitations of daycare facilities as learning environments in the decision process for starting schools?
- July 17 – The question of attendance during the HCPSS 2020-2021 school year via virtual learning was asked by a HoCoBOE member; no final answer yet
- July 18 – No update to Howard County on the attendance issue for the 2020-2021 school year from the HCPSS Superintendent after meeting with State Superintendent
I am not sure that the information above is clear enough for there to be no concerns. I see the 4th bullet above about “technical difficulty” and the ability for a student to submit asynchronous work for a particular day to receive credit for attendance…but I would be asking more details on that bullet if I were a HoCoBOE member.
What happens if my internet is out for multiple days at home? What if the day care facility just is not setup to handle a large number of children online all at once (both from a technical and space perspective)? Can my child complete “asynchronous work” from 3 days prior (or more) and receive credit for attendance? Maybe that 4th bullet covers all of these questions…I am just not sure this morning.
Those are just some of the questions I had off the top of my head this morning. I hope the school system and teachers are flexible with attendance because there may be a great number of scenarios that could affect the schedule of students during online learning. I would be disappointed to hear that students negatively affected because they can not connect in the way that is outlined above due to a variety of circumstances.
I would love to see a statement of flexibility in that section of the reopening plan (a little more than what is there and with more details)…just my personal opinion.
I am also hoping that one (or more) of the HoCoBOE members addresses this item today in the meeting.
Have thoughts…let me know in the comments.