• Erica Peterson

Attendance changes coming in 20/21

As every state grapples to give guidance—we’ve already posted about Texas’ new attendance codes—California’s Legislature takes a crack at continuity, equity.


School districts across California have been begging for guidance on how to safely reopen school. Unfortunately, CDE’s guidebook, “Stronger Together” while comprehensive, raised more questions than it answered. Thankfully in the proposed budget deal struck by the Legislature and Governor Newsom yesterday, the 2020-2021 education trailer bill outlines the actions districts must implement to take attendance, connect & communicate, and track data.


California Legislature is working on putting the finishing touches on the 2020/21 Education Trailer Bill. Two significant areas that we’d like to highlight involve the proposed changes to student attendance for the upcoming school year and the proposed requirement to write and adopt a learning continuity and attendance plan.


Below are the highlights from the Mike's Corner article: Legislature Proposes School Attendance Changes for 20/21


PROPOSED CHANGES TO ATTENDANCE For the 2020-21 school year, compulsory education requirements for students to attend school would continue to be in effect. LEAs are still required to offer 180 days of instruction and are required to offer in-person instruction to the greatest extent possible.

In addition, districts will be required to:

  • Document daily participation for each student on each school day or part of the school day that distance learning is provided.

--- Daily participation can include but is not limited to evidence of participation in online activities, completion of regular assignments, completion of assessments, and contacts between district employees and students/parents/guardians.

  • For each day/part day of distance learning, complete a weekly engagement record for each student that:

--- Documents whether instruction is synchronous (all participants are present at the same time, live interactive classes) or asynchronous (all participants don’t have to be present, instruction is self-paced, may include prerecorded videos with guided support)

--- Verifies participation level

--- Tracks assignments

  • Students who do not participate in distance learning or in-person instruction would be deemed absent and this information would be used to report chronic absenteeism rates in its LCAP

  • Develop tiered reengagement strategies for students absent from distance learning more than three school days or 60 percent of the instructional days in a school week. These procedures must include:

--- Verifying student contact information

--- Daily parental notification of any absences

--- A plan for student outreach to determine student needs such as health and social services and when feasible, transitioning the student to full-time in-person instruction

  • (Schools) regularly communicate the student’s academic progress to parents


A weekly student engagement record must be kept and completed for each student that documents synchronous instruction (real time) or asynchronous instruction (online without real time interaction) each day/partial day that distance learning occurs. LEAs would also be required to verify daily participation and track student assignments.

Students who do not participate in distance learning or in-person instruction would be deemed absent and this information would be used to report chronic absenteeism rates.

Each LEA must develop tiered reengagement strategies for students absent from distance learning that include:

  • Verifying student contact information

  • Daily parental notification of any absences

  • A student outreach plan to determine health and social service needs if necessary, and

  • When feasible, a procedure to transition the student to full-time, in-person instruction


LEARNING CONTINUITY AND ATTENDANCE PLAN Also, by September 30, 2020, each governing board would be required to adopt a learning continuity and attendance plan on a district-wide and school-by-school basis, in consultation with teachers, principals, administrators, other school personnel, local bargaining units, and students.


The plan must include a description of how the school district will provide continuity of learning and address the impact of COVID-19 on students, staff, and the community in the following areas, and the specific actions and expenditures the district anticipates taking to address the impacts of COVID- 19:

  1. In-person instructional offerings and the actions the district will take to offer classroom-based instruction whenever possible.

  2. Plans for a distance learning program.

  3. How the school district will address pupil learning loss.

  4. How the school district will monitor and support the mental health and social and emotional well-being of students and staff during the school year.

  5. What professional development will be provided to staff and what resources will be provided to pupils and staff to address trauma and other impacts of COVID-19 on the school community.

  6. Pupil engagement and outreach.

  7. School nutrition, including how the school district will provide meals for pupils eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

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