Wake County Public School System updates attendance policy amid COVID-19 remote learning

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Wake County Public School System board members revised the attendance policy to define attendance during remote learning Tuesday evening.

To be marked present, a student must complete their daily assignments and/or be present in synchronous (live, realtime instruction), though a webcam is not required for remote learning.

The other option for attendance is to have a daily check-in or two-way communication in a manner acceptable to the school with the appropriate teacher.

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For those in grades Pre-K through 5, that would be the homeroom teacher. In all other grade levels, it would be the course teacher listed on a student's schedule.

The policy means a student can't be marked absent if they can't log in, as long as they meet one of those requirements.

A teacher can change a student's attendance status from absent to present if there is evidence of student engagement at a later date.

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"It's just about giving some options and making sure we can reach every student and you know, allow for credits to special situations," WCPSS Board Member Chris Heagarty said during the virtual meeting. "Say, for example, where someone doesn't have access to a device or some special circumstance comes up. It's not a defacto replacement of the attendance policy."

Board member Dr. Jim Martin said attendance is not to be confused with grading.

"If you're doing assignments then that is evidence of attendance," Dr. Martin said during the virtual meeting. "But If you're just doing this check-in, that is not evidence of doing assignments. So just a reminder that this is attendance, and not grading policy."

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District officials said the revised policy is based on guidance from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

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