top of page
  • Erica Peterson

Take Attendance During Closures?

This was the very first "Ask Erica" question that came in. And it's a question that takes us to the heart of what's facing districts, teachers and parents right now. Short answer, yes!

Taking Attendance During Coronavirus Closures – Is It Even Worth It? is a recent Ed Week article that unwrapped one of the “hidden in plain sight” issues of the pandemic.

The article outlines how school closures have widened the chasm of disengagement—spotlighting access, disparity and equity issues. And for guidance, the article reinforced our recommendations on what schools can do now and in preparation for when they reopen: 1) Take Attendance, 2) Communicate & Connect, and 3) Track Data.

Taking attendance—redefined as participation, logging-in, checking-in or picking up work packets—is the only way to collect data for future teachers to know what students had access to. Districts will need that starting point when schools reopen.

Below are highlights from the article that I thought would be helpful. Read full article here.


  • “Typically, taking attendance is simply a matter of asking, is the student in the building or not? With most school buildings closed, it’s now represented by a more amorphous set of factors: whether the student is engaged in learning, completing assignments on time, staying in touch with teachers.”

  • “Students who have struggled with attendance prior to the pandemic are continuing to do so. Other students are missing assignments if they or their parents don’t understand how to access virtual lessons.”

  • “If they (students) don’t know what to do, and it’s too frustrating for them, they just say, ‘You know what, forget it.”


  • ”Attendance monitoring might seem like too much of a logistical hassle for schools and parents when students are learning from home, but it may prove valuable once school buildings reopen.”

  • “Many schools are struggling to reach students who have not been engaged in learning since the pandemic hit, Education Week reported this week.”

  • “Among more than 1,000 teachers who answered a nationwide survey this month from the Education Week Research Center, an average of 21 percent of their students have been “essentially truant” or unreachable during COVID-19 closures.”


  • “This attendance data is going to be very important for future teachers to know what students had access to, and it’s also going to be important for making sure that we don’t lose whole cohorts of students.”

  • “All districts should be keeping records of students’ engagement with learning materials, though not with a goal of administering consequences or punishment.”

  • “Teachers who inherit students who were affected by the pandemic will benefit from records of which students were able to participate, and which ones struggled to engage.”

We are currently providing this service to our existing clients and we'd love to be supporting you in the same way. If this is of interest to you, please reach out to me so we can discuss.


bottom of page