Giving Compass' Take:

• Data shows that approximately 16 percent of students in NYC public schools have not been in touch with their schools, and there is no systemwide standard for online attendance.

• How can school districts improve this system for distance learning? What other resources do schools need during this pandemic? 

• Read how professional learning development is helping educators during coronavirus. 

On an average day, roughly 16% of New York City public school students have not been in touch with their schools, according to attendance data that gives an early glimpse into how schools are transitioning to remote learning.

But the preliminary data, which raise important questions about how many students are missing out entirely on instruction during the coronavirus pandemic, come with an important caveat: Schools have not yet uploaded attendance data for about one in five students.

According to the data collected, only 84.3% of students have had some kind of daily interactions with their schools — whether that be answering a phone call from a teacher, mailing in printed packets of work, or logging into a virtual classroom. Last school year, before coronavirus bore down on New York City, average daily attendance was almost 92%.

Complicating matters: There is no systemwide standard for marking students present or absent, and each of the city’s 1,800 public schools is able to set its own attendance policy while campuses are shuttered.

Schools are considering whether students turned in an assignment online or through the mail, or participated in an online discussion thread. Being marked present, though, doesn’t always mean students are doing work. It could mean answering a phone call or email from the school, or just logging in to mark oneself present on a Google spreadsheet.

Barbot, the education department spokesperson, said the city is tracking attendance data so that schools can “focus on those students or schools showing trends of limited or inconsistent interactions.” Schools are being asked to conduct a new round of outreach to students who haven’t engaged.

“We are constantly refining this data to target support and intervention at schools that need it most,” she said.

Read the full article about remote learning by Christina Veiga at Chalkbeat.