SCCPSS announces 2021 budget, plans to count attendance for virtual classes

ByBlair Caldwell|August 12, 2020 at 2:24 PM EDT - Updated August 12 at 4:36 PM

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -We’re one week out from the first day of school for Savannah-Chatham County students.

On Wednesday, the school board discussed the final details to their virtual start to the year. They also discussed the budget for the 2021 school year.

The board passed a general fund budget of $445,394,682 for the fiscal 2021 school year in an 8-1 vote on Wednesday afternoon.

In just seven days, students will be asked to log onto school. But how they will be counted for the day is much more detailed than that.

Students will be counted in attendance when they are actively participating in online classes. Several factors will be used to measure that like participating in live instruction, submitting assignments, engaging in activities, log in’s, and more. Students without internet access can use refueling stations or printed packets and be in touch with their teachers. Teachers will reach out to parents in the first 24 and 48 hours of non-attendance they will document all contact efforts and barriers. After three days, they will report the student to the attendance protocol committee for further action. Teachers have discretion when conducting attendance, but district leaders say standards have been set.

“I think this is uncharted territory as I think we have to learn as we go,” Dr. Joe Buck, SCCPSS Board of Education President. “I think that some of us, some schools even though we’re supposed to be doing the same thing will do things better than others schools and so it’s up to staff and parents to help make certain that their students are attending as they should and if they have problems with that they should let us know so I’ll let the staff know so they can work that out. It’s a new day for us all.”

As students continue virtually district leaders say the truancy policy remains the same- that’s ten days of no activity or participation. Board members say they plan to evaluate the attendance policy and see how it goes after a few weeks and will be flexible in this new era.

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