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Schools struggle to take attendance amid coronavirus stay at home learning

Schools struggle to take attendance amid coronavirus stay at home learning
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Schools around the country are having a hard time tracking whether or not students are participating in virtual learning amid the coronavirus outbreak that has caused many school districts in the U.S. to close for the rest of the school year.

Normally, attendance records are simple enough for schools and districts to track and since attendance is often used to determine funding, most districts keep detailed records.

The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the country, reported that a considerable amount of its students have not been logging in to participate in online learning, The Wall Street Journal reports.

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According to the Journal, the district recently estimated that on average, about 25 percent of its high school students — at least 30,000 students — didn't log in. This is down from 32 percent in March.

“Many of them are amongst our most vulnerable—in the foster-care system, or living in deep poverty, students with disabilities, or those who’ve struggled to attend school on a regular basis in ordinary times,” Los Angeles Superintendent Austin Beutner told the paper. “Our goal is to connect every student.”

Beutner estimated that about 7,400 high school students in L.A. aren't able to connect due to lack of technology. He said that the district is spending $100 million to get every student in the district connected.

Some districts have tried to combat the technology gap by setting up wi-fi buses that students can use to log in and download their assignments.

“Families can pull up to the buses and students can login and download what they need and get their assignments finished,” Belleville, Ill., Superintendent Jeff Dosier said. Dosier noted that daily attendance has been hovering around 75 percent, a decrease from the school district's 88 percent mark last year when classes were fully in-person.