Distance learning presents new challenges for school attendance

All classes for the foreseeable future at Carlmont are taking place on Zoom, a video chat platform. This new format has caused unique issues for attendance.

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All classes for the foreseeable future at Carlmont are taking place on Zoom, a video chat platform. This new format has caused unique issues for attendance.

Due to online distance learning, Carlmont’s student attendance is facing unique obstacles.

Since March 2020, schools across the nation have been operating entirely online. Students and administrators alike have experienced many difficulties with the remote learning format.

One such difficulty is that the home environment now doubles as a learning environment, decreasing one’s motivation to focus on school. This decrease in motivation makes it challenging to maintain consistent attendance.

Reed Bowman, a sophomore, expressed his concern with low motivation in the online school setting.

“It’s really hard to get motivated right now to go to school, and I think that’s probably one of the main reasons [for attendance problems] along with the fact that there’s a lot of technical issues,” Bowman said.

In addition to lower academic drive, clinical focus disabilities also contribute to a struggle to keep up attendance. The remote school environment presents a new opposition for students with learning disabilities or issues focusing.

Sophomore Andrey Yip explained her own experience with online school attendance as a neurodiverse student.

“In uncertain times I just wouldn’t go to class because of how hard it was for me to pay attention and focus in Zooms due to the environment at home,” Yip said. “I feel like admin needs to address the problem of attendance and see how it can be more manageable for kids who have IEPs [Individualized Education Plans] and 504s [504 plans] … a lot of kids who do have 504s and IEPs are the ones who are missing their classes because the school is not supporting them.”

The need for administrative support is fulfilled by on and off-campus office hours for Carlmont students. Leonore Zarco, an attendance clerk at Carlmont, observed new reasons for missing classes and recommended in-person resources for those who need them.

“Students still miss a lot of school during distance learning, and it may be due to personal reasons, technical issues, or not understanding the Wednesday schedule as well,” Zarco said. “What is now happening is that those students who are failing or not logging in during distance learning are needing to come on campus for support so they may succeed.”

While students face obstacles specific to the pandemic, resources such as the Academic Center are available to those who are struggling. As the school year continues with the distance-learning format for an indefinite amount of time, students will have the chance to grow accustomed to regularly joining Zoom classes and maintaining a consistent attendance rate.

“Compared to traditional schooling where you’re going in person and someone is … counting your physical attendance,” Yip said, “online school doesn’t do that, so it’s easier to miss classes without having the ‘consequences’ that come with traditional schooling.”

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