WATERTOWN — In a message sent to Watertown City School District families on Oct. 20, the district announced via the ParentSquare app it updated its daily requirements for students learning either completely online or in a hybrid model. Each day, remote learners are asked to submit both daily health screenings as well as attendance forms, both of which can be submitted through ParentSquare.
Student attendance is not taken from the daily COVID screenings for remote learners, the attendance form must be submitted for students to be marked as present that day. For those with questions or concerns regarding the new requirement, they are asked to either contact their student’s individual school building or the district office.
In part, last Tuesday’s message said beginning Oct. 21, for attendance only, students in grades 7-12 will be required to check into their Google classrooms and complete an attendance check-in daily for each class. Teachers for students in grades K-6 will send out a ParentSquare check-in each morning that should be completed along with the daily health screening.
Students will still have one week from Wednesday through Tuesday to complete assignments, the message said.
According to Superintendent Patricia B. LaBarr, one of the biggest issues the district faces right now is the attendance for remote learners.
“Now that we’re into this new crazy normal that we live in, we now have expectations from the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), from the (state) Department of Health, from New York state (Education) Department,” she said. “But now we know that attendance is critical and we have to take care of it, whereas in that emergency shutdown in March, that wasn’t the priority. Now that’s a big piece of this, and people need to understand that school is taking place five days a week, whether you’re in person or not.
“Even though they’re not in person, school takes place five days a week, and attendance is part of that process,” she added.