New attendance policy leaves students and staff divided

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Jena Spezzano

New attendance guidelines for students on the hybrid schedule have led to some confusion.

Jena Spezzano, Staff Writer

In an October 27 email, Principal Ray Manka attempted to clarify a new attendance policy for hybrid students after an initial announcement by the district caused confusion and concern among teachers and students.

On October 19, Stamford teachers were sent an email regarding a new attendance policy.  The email explained that students would have to check in and /or submit work every day in order to be marked present in class.  If students were to disregard the policy, they were to be marked “remote absent.”  The email left many students and teachers with questions and concerns. 

SHS teacher Diane Burns said she felt that the email left most teachers confused, and said, “I’m nervous as to what it’s going to do to some of the kids.”  

During the students’ distance learning days, not submitting work can now result in being marked absent for the day. 

In his subsequent email, Manka wrote, “If the students did not complete their work, a teacher should go back and mark them to remote absent.” A potential concern is that this could cause some students to be marked absent despite having “attended” class, because a student could attend class but fail to submit the work for a variety of reasons. 

Some students will also invariably submit work but not actually put effort into it in order to be marked “present.” It concerns teachers like SHS Spanish teacher Matthew Gladstone that this policy isn’t really proving that the student actually attended their distance learning lesson.

Gladstone said, “You shouldn’t get credit for attending class if you’re not really there.”  

Some students are also frustrated with this new attendance policy.  Not all teachers do live lessons and assign daily work to be turned in.  The latest guidance for teachers, however, states that if a teacher does not wish to use a daily assignment as an attendance measure, they can also create daily sign-in sheets through google forms or take attendance directly via a live stream. 

With all of the different approved methods, students should expect variations from class to class, potentially leading to more confusion.   

Stamford High junior Nico Peragine said, “most of my teachers are following the policy but tweaking it to what works best for them.”  He added that not all of his teachers assign daily work to be submitted for credit.

Stamford High Junior Kiera Garry said she thought the policy was an improvement.

“I think it’s smart so that they know if students are actually doing their work for that day,” Garry said. 

Overall, the new district attendance policy has left students and teachers divided. Some think it’s a much-needed way to measure accountability, and others find it confusing and unnecessary.

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