Technology troubles may contribute to your student's virtual attendance record

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Kiing McLeod has gotten into the rhythm of virtual learning, but the East Millbrook Magnet Middle School student said that at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, he had difficulties logging on.

"I would try to join a (Google) Meet and it would just be loading for like 30 minutes to an hour," McLeod said.

McLeod said he was marked absent four or five times. He let his teachers know and they were able to change that.

But issues like this could theoretically cause some students to be marked absent incorrectly.

ABC11 obtained data from the Wake County Public School System.

It shows 12 percent of students had three or more absences in February of 2020, before the pandemic. That percentage went up slightly to 14 percent this February, during the pandemic.

Data provided by the district shows the percent of students with three or more absences was the same in January of 2020 and 2021, at 11 percent.

Data from other months has not been provided yet.

McLeod contacted the district's technology help desk and Patrice Charles responded.

"We diagnose whether the students' camera is turning on," Charles said. "Most of the time, we'll get calls about students stating it's just spinning when they're trying to log in and we determine that, in a lot of those cases, I would say 95% of cases, would be the camera has malfunctioned on the device, so that spinning and joining of the classroom is because the camera is not engaged."

Charles said that's what happened to McLeod.

"Together, we figured out that his camera was not working," Charles said. "I said, 'Well okay, this is what we're going to do. We're going to get you a replacement computer, Kiing.'"

"I would just call the help desk and then she would answer and then we would go over the computers," McLeod said.

Now, Kiing is logging onto virtual learning every day and will continue learning remotely this school year through the district's Virtual Academy.

If your child goes to a Wake County school and needs assistance with technology, they can contact the district's help desk.
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