Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibility
MENU

Do schools turn in parents whose children do not participate in remote learning?

Do schools turn in parents whose children do not participate in remote learning?
There are{ } more than a dozen learning PODS open for Asheville City Schools students and parents to help with remote learning. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

For some parents, a lack of internet access or work schedules have made remote learning a struggle.

"I have been served two criminal summonses for truancy for not making my kids do the failing remote learning. Really, this is what we are doing to parents?” a viewer asked News 13’s I-Team Coronavirus Help Desk.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction identifies chronic absenteeism as 10 percent or more of the total school days missed. News 13 checked with several mountain schools. Attendance expectations were communicated with parents early on and policies are on school websites. All said filing a truancy is a last resort and few have been filed. Buncombe and Henderson County schools said they’re working with families to increase engagement and participation and extending grace and patience to families.

<="" sd-embed="">

Here's what Asheville City Schools said about truancy issues:

"Do students who are absent after so many days get turned over to DSS for truancy?

Since the global pandemic began, our school counselors and social workers have worked tirelessly to support families and connect with students who may not be engaging with remote instruction. Filing a DSS report or truancy charges would be an absolute last resort. However, our staff is required by law to send attendance letters home to families once a child has three, six and 10 days of unexcused absences. Additionally, once a student reaches six unexcused absences, our social workers follow up with home visits or virtual meetings with parents to share a copy of Attendance Policy 4400, find out how they can be of further support as well as determine what additional interventions should be put in place to ensure our students are successful and attend school. Despite the interventions and added support, should a child reach nine - 10 unexcused absences, the school social worker will meet with the parent to create an attendance contract specific for that family. The contract is signed by the student, parent, principal and school social worker and stipulates that should the contract be violated, a DSS report will be made prior to truancy charges being filed.

If your student is of school age, do they need to be enrolled in some type of learning program?

Yes, per state law, each child between the ages of 7-16 should be enrolled in some type of learning program.

Have you had many cases of truancy, greater than when there is in-person learning during a normal school year?

We have seen higher numbers of unexcused absences this school year; however, we recognize these differences are due to the global pandemic and the unparalleled circumstances our families are facing. We provide any and all necessary support before filing any truancy case. As of October 28th, we have not filed a truancy case on any family across the district."

Buncombe County Schools provided the following information to News 13's questions:

"Do students who are absent after so many days get turned over to DSS for truancy?

Yes, excessive absences can lead to a truancy filing. The Dept. of Public Instruction identifies chronic absenteeism as 10% or more of the total school days. Research on chronic absenteeism indicates a higher risk of school failure, future absenteeism, and potential dropouts. Schools are to develop intervention plans aligned with the BCS Policy 3405, Students At-risk for Academic Failure which aligns with Multi-Tiered System of Support. Our schools really try to work with each family to increase engagement and participation. Our counselors and social workers have been working tirelessly to connect with students who may not be engaging online. Now that all students have the option for hybrid learning, we feel that having students back in our buildings will make a huge difference in identifying challenges that are keeping them from engaging in learning.

If your student is of school age, do they need to be enrolled in some type of learning program?

Yes, per state law, children must be enrolled in school from ages 7-16. This can be a public school, charter school, private school, or homeschool.

We understand that especially now, finding a program that is the right fit for a student can be challenging. For example, we've added capacity to our BCS Virtual Academy (BCSVA). This is a program for students in grades 6-12. It’s a remote learning model, but students learn at their own pace. This is a potential resource for a student who may have significant scheduling challenges that prevent them from participating in synchronous learning with their class. BCSVA allows students to make progress towards earning a diploma, but they do it when it’s convenient for them. Obviously, unlike spring many of the school systems had indicated they would be keeping attendance this fall.

Have you had many cases of truancy, greater than when there is in-person learning during a normal school year?

BCS does not track truancy district-wide. The Buncombe Co. Courts would have those filings. We can anecdotally say we’ve had few truancy cases this year."

CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION CENTER: TRACK THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS, IMPACTS, AND HEADLINES ABOUT THE PANDEMIC HERE

Henderson County Schools provided News 13 with the following information:

"What hasn’t changed since the pandemic is the state requirement for school-aged children to be enrolled in an academic program – either a public school, charter school, private school, or homeschool. What has changed is how school districts, including Henderson County Public Schools, are tracking attendance of students in the new remote and hybrid learning environments.

Entering the 2020-21 school year, we understood that some of our students would be unable to attend each live class during their assigned times during remote and hybrid learning. Therefore, a student is considered present for daily attendance during a remote learning day if:

  • They are present and engaged during that day’s online, whole-class session OR
  • They complete their daily assignments, either online or offline within 10 days OR
  • They have a daily check-in or two-way communication with their appropriate teacher(s).

These attendance expectations were communicated to families through the “Plan B FAQs” documents linked on the district website, the R2L: Communications page, shared on social media, and also included in the Sept. 17 and subsequent editions of the “R2L Weekly” sent to parent/guardian emails each Thursday since July 2.

Filing truancy is a last resort, and given the instabilities and disruptions caused by the pandemic, our schools have focused on extending grace and patience to our families. As we do every school year, our teachers and school administrators are making special efforts to connect with any student who is struggling to remain engaged in school, and our focus is on supporting attendance.

In addition to teacher phone calls and emails home, our Student Services Department staff work to create individualized attendance success plans, and offer academic and support services to mitigate barriers to attendance. This includes issuing hotspots or flash drives preloaded with assignments to students facing internet connectivity issues, collaborating with the Transportation Department to provide reliable transportation for students with housing instability, making home visits, and more.

That said, it is always concerning when students remain disengaged, despite the district exhausting its resources and positive interventions to connect and encourage attendance. In these rare circumstances, we are required by state law to move forward with court involvement, in order to uphold the state’s compulsory attendance policy. At this point in the school year, HCPS has not sought any court intervention."

You can submit your questions to Iteam@wlos.com. News 13's Jennifer Emert, Lauren Brigman and Karen Zatkulak will work to get an answer for you.






FOLLOW US ON TWITTER