Attendance During Remote Learning

DESE Requirement

Schools and districts must take daily attendance whether a student is in person or remote. Consistent with 603 CMR 27.08(3)(b), districts must have a daily attendance policy and system for remote learning that can be reported into SIMS. During the 2020-21 school year, DESE will also require schools and districts to differentiate between students attending school in-person and remotely in their local Student Information System. This data will allow DESE to monitor remote learning programming and student engagement across the Commonwealth. 

Parents/caregivers are responsible for ensuring their child attends school every day, whether for in-person or remote learning. Schools and districts must continue to investigate extended absences and make and document reasonable efforts to locate the student and determine the reason for nonattendance. 

How Somerville Public Schools is Meeting that Requirement

All Somerville Public Schools (SPS) students are expected to attend and engage in all synchronous and asynchronous activities designed by their teachers for the full school day. 

SPS teachers in PreK-8 will take attendance during homeroom daily and report in Aspen. All teachers must enter Virtual Present (VP) or Virtual Absent (VA) in Aspen each day for every student. PreK-8 teachers will also take attendance during each learning block and keep an electronic record of student attendance. 

Attendance for High School students will be taken daily at the beginning of period 1 and at the beginning of every academic class block during the school day. In addition, Somerville Public Schools educators will monitor whether students are present asynchronously, e.g., submitting assignments online, logging onto online learning platforms, and attending virtual check-ins during remote learning.

In the case of illness, parents/caregivers must call the school sick line to report a student absence (contact information found toward the bottom of each school’s website home page). After 3 days of consecutive absences due to sickness, parents/caregivers must submit a doctor's note electronically to the school office. 

Throughout periods of synchronous learning, SPS educators will observe for students' presence. If it is observed that a student is not continuously present, the educator will contact the building Redirect Teacher or Dean of Students for follow-up action. The Redirect Teacher or Dean of Students will contact the student’s parent/caregiver to support getting the student back online. If a student is consistently absent and does not respond to outreach by the classroom teacher, the school Redirect Teacher, or Dean of Students, that student will be referred to the school’s Student Support Team (SST) for further support. 

Full Remote (Learning Management System - LMS)

This option is intended only for those families who prefer to have their student work entirely independently and on their own schedule, and who have their own academic support system in place, such as a tutor. Students who prefer to continue learning remotely after we begin transitioning to some in-person instruction, and who want to continue working with SPS teachers following the school schedule, will have the opportunity to do so as part of the Phased Hybrid Learning Model. 

Students in the LMS model will be working primarily asynchronously using the LMS curriculum and instructional support, and will not be following the school schedule. These students also have the option of taking art or music classes offered by SPS educators. The district will conduct bi-weekly check ins with families enrolled in the LMS. The LMS systems were reviewed by DESE to ensure that the curriculum is aligned to DESE grade-level standards. The LMS option for K-8 is Florida Virtual School (FLVS). The LMS option for grades 9-12 is Edgenuity. 

Students enrolled full time in FLVS are required to attend the Class Time live teacher instruction three days per week (Tuesday-Thursday). Class Time sessions are live, interactive lessons, allowing students and teachers to gather and work together in an online environment. During lessons, teachers provide individualized instruction and students gain a deeper understanding of the content, engage in activities, and collaborate with their peers.  

More information can be found on the “What to Know Before You Enroll in FLVS Flex” at