Taking Attendance When School Is Closed


A peculiar question crossed my mind today, regarding our recent school closure for flu-related absence. Everyday, teachers are required to compile reports on how many students are absent. Reasons are also tabulated; at the beginning of every school closure decision meeting, the school practitioner (they insist she isn’t a doctor, but also not a nurse, so I chose this title) announced how many students were out for illness and how many of those were for influenza. She also reported on rates of change in absences. Decisions on whether to have the meetings and whether to cancel classes were based on these numbers.

So, my question is: If the cancellation is based on attendance, how do they know when to continue classes? Naturally, it is impossible to take attendance when nobody is there – or rather, it is very, very easy, but a string of zeros is not meaningful data. I wondered if the teachers have to go around to the students houses and check up on their condition; however, the answer appears to be much simpler. One Board of Ed. employee told me they normally cancel for two days and re-evaluate the situation when the students return to school.


4 Responses to “Taking Attendance When School Is Closed”

  1. sunkissd1 Says:

    That is a crack-up. I spent two years of high school at Holy Names Academy on Capital Hill. We had girls coming from all over the place on a daily basis, some taking ferries, multiple buses, etc., but most of us spent close to 1-1/2 to 2 hours each way. When it snowed, we’d all have to trek in, wait until about 8:30-9am, so they could, by state standards, call it a full day and send everyone home. If you didn’t show up for that minimal time, you were considered absent. Go figure.

    Now there are so many teacher in-service days, half days and other miscellaneous days off every month and often for no apparent reason. When Squid was in private school, I once asked the assistant teacher what they did on those days, and she said they got the day off. That really ticked me off since I was paying full tuition and then on those days they got off, I either had to pay the school more for childcare, pay a babysitter, or take the day off work.

  2. びっくり Says:

    I’m sure if you asked the teachers, they could give you a list of things they were doing on the days when Squid thought they were playing. However, as in any business, there are always some mice who play when the cat’s away.

  3. sunkissd1 Says:

    Re-read my comment. This was what I was told by the assistant teacher.

    Ironically, and totally unrelated, she was Asian and died a year later from stomach cancer. She was young and left behind a baby about a year old and a 6 year old.

    I’d already been through my Leukemia when this happened, so I read up on her condition. Although the Asian population typically has lower rates of heart disease and cancer, this particular kind is quite “common”. It is thought that a particular spice they use, which is not a typical part of the US diet, is to blame..

  4. びっくり Says:

    Oops, I was hoping to find an ambiguous pronoun to hide behind, but you spelled it out in no uncertain terms – guess I must have been skimming. Sorry.

    Yikes, your second bit isn’t ironic; it is tragic and sad.

    Your third bit seems aimed at frightening me into moving back to Seattle. 😉

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