Provide Students With Remote Attendance

Provide Students With Remote Attendance

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Matthew Cohen started this petition to Superintendent Reid P. Newey

Superintendent Newey,

The district has been piecing together the puzzle for reopening schools. Online and in-person options cover many students, but there is still a missing piece. That piece is remote attendance.

For this letter, the phrases in-person, remote attendance, and online mean the following:

  • In-person is traditional attendance in a classroom setting.
  • Remote attendance is similar to in-person in that students would be enrolled in the same class they would normally attend in-person but would attend virtually from home through a streaming service such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. They would tune into their class's livestream in accordance with the normal bell schedule. A student could elect to attend in-person for select classes or their full schedule at any time.
  • Online differs from remote attendance in that it is completely separate from in-person schools. Online presents different instruction for a different curriculum in a different environment by different teachers.

 

Students have differing needs, but not all are currently addressed.

The district recognizes there is no one-size-fits-all solution that can encapsulate all the different learning environments students may need. However, there is one more option that could be added that would allow even more students to perform their best. Some students can’t return to in-person education due to medical conditions or because of anxiety caused by COVID-19. Online school deviates too far from traditional education for many students. During the closure last school year, many students struggled to stay motivated and feared failure because there was little to no real-time interaction with their teachers and students managed their own time and education. Online school is not a practical alternative for these students. However, remote attendance provides a solution that maximizes normalcy for them.

 

Remote attendance empowers students and parents to make choices that are best for themselves.

With the current plan, students have no fully at-home option but online, which wouldn’t work for many of them. Students who choose to attend in-person may find they’ve made the wrong choice, but become locked into a commitment where they are forced to attend a school they’re not comfortable being in. Remote attendance provides a fully at-home option more familiar for many of these students. If in-person students find that it’s not right for them, remote attendance gives them an immediate alternative so that they can feel more comfortable in their learning environment. Remote attendance gives parents and students the freedom to decide which choice is best for them, as well as empowering them to fix the decision if they find it was wrong. Where the current plan forces students to already know which learning environment will best suit them, remote attendance allows students to identify the best learning environment for them over time.

 

Remote attendance incentivizes students to make choices that are best for everyone.

It is vital that students who feel sick stay home. Unfortunately, staying home means contacting a teacher, who likely can’t provide a personalized lesson plan until the end of the school day. Students will struggle to keep up in a class structure that strongly resembles classes during last year’s closure. Students who self-isolate from in-person schools when they’re sick provide a benefit to their classmates, but at the expense of their teachers’ time and their own education. A lack of remote attendance creates an unnecessary tradeoff between doing what’s best for them and what’s best for everyone else. Remote attendance removes this conflict. Students could continue in their classes, without delay, and without burdening their teachers. 

 

A dynamic situation requires an adaptive solution.

As circumstances change like COVID-19 numbers and the parents’ ability to stay home with children, the best learning environment for students will inevitably change. By giving students the same instruction and education no matter where they are, remote attendance offers a seamless transition between in-person and at-home. It gives students the opportunity to change how they attend class as the pandemic gets better or worse. Switching between the two is as easy as making that decision.

Likewise, the effect of the pandemic on education will change over time. Remote attendance provides the administration a seamless transition from in-person to at-home due to a mandated school closure. It also provides a pathway to gradually transition back to full in-person learning as the pandemic wanes. In the event of an outbreak, classes involved could be temporarily moved to remote attendance, rather than the entire school. Remote attendance creates an adaptive plan for responding to changes in the pandemic.

 

Remote attendance benefits everyone.

Remote attendance benefits both students who must attend in-person and those who can’t. It benefits teachers and bus drivers by exposing them to fewer children. It benefits administrators by allowing them to suspend and resume in-person education as the virus necessitates. It benefits parents who need to send their children to school as classes will have fewer students attending in-person. Remote attendance requires additional infrastructures such as laptops, wireless mics, cameras, bandwidth, and a uniform platform; but many of these are already in schools, and they all provide a lasting benefit, even after the pandemic. Reopening schools is a difficult puzzle, but a solution like remote attendance allows the other pieces to fall into place.

 

Thank you for your time,

The parents and students of Davis District

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