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Guide for Parents re: Attendance and Learning From Home

by Mike Balsom | Sep 29, 2020

Students and Parents/Guardians of Laura Secord Secondary School  - September 28, 2020. To see a downloadable version of this, including images, please CLICK HERE


  • Reminder that students are required to do the COVID-19 self-assessment every day before school.

  • If a student is experiencing any symptoms, they are to remain home and seek medical advice from their health care provider or Niagara Region Public Health at 1-888-505-6074.

  • Class attendance must be taken for all students including those in attendance in-class on a specific day, those in the at-home cohort, and those fully online.

  • If you are a student who is expected in person, but is going to learn from home, a parent/guardian must either use the SafeArrival system OR call the school and excuse them “learning online” (this is a choice on the absent drop-down menu). If this in-school student has engaged online but a parent has not called in, they will remain recorded as Absent (A) in the system.

  • Accurate attendance is important for contract tracing purposes.

Students in cohort on an IN-PERSON day:

  • Parents must notify the school if their child is absent on a day that they are expected to attend in-person, or the student is marked absent.

  •  If a parent reaches out to the school (or uses SafeArrival) to excuse the absence by indicating the student is learning online, then the student is recorded as AE (absence excused) with the explanation being “learning online”.

  • Main office will be contacting families of students not in attendance in the morning, as soon as possible.

Students in the opposite cohort, NOT on an in-person day:

  • Classroom teacher is responsible for recording student cohort attendance in Aspen (Attendance is counted as login to the system/completion of work) - students are to use the “Attendance Check-In” on their D2L page to indicate that they are present. In the dropdown menu on the D2L homepage, students will only see what classes they have that period (depending on the schedule for COVID) - see pic of the widget to the right.

  • Attendance lists for those students that checked in will be sent to the teacher by email.

  • All attendance is to be completed by 2:20 pm

  • Click on this image to use the Attendance Check-in:

Fully Online Learners (O)

  • Online learners are required to check-in daily using the “Attendance Check-In” widget on their D2L page for the class that is scheduled for that day (see image)

  • Lists of the students that have checked in will be accumulated and sent to teachers through email at the end of the day. The attendance records for these students need to be updated in Aspen by 2:20 p.m.

For MSIP Classes

  • If students chose to “Learn at home” for their MSIP period, they can must check-in through the “Attendance Check-In” widget on any of their D2L homepages. They are to choose “MSIP” from the drop-down menu. Teachers are to mark students absent that are supposed to be in front of them but are away, those in the opposite cohort and those in cohort “O” - the attendance secretary will be updating the students that checked in through the online check-in for MSIP at the end of the day.

  • Students who are struggling with course demands or understanding content in some courses are encouraged to attend MSIP for additional support from teachers.

Communication and Engagement

There are many supports available to staff, students and parents and we encourage you to utilize the LSS Resource Site found at the following link:


Please visit our website regularly to keep updated on all communications: http://www.laurasecord.org/

Some things to consider:

  • There will be gaps in student knowledge from last semester due to COVID-19 and the shut down. Teachers are adjusting their practice to support where the students are at in their learning; 

  • Whether learning from home or in-school, students are expected to be engaging in 300 minutes of learning each day (whether that be synchronous, asynchronous or independent online learning);

  • The mini-blocks will allow for increased safety (i.e., same kids in the building for a few days). However, learning expectations for classes will be high given the decreased amount of time that teachers have with their students;

  • As teachers collect evidence of learning from multiple sources (observations, conversations and products), it is extremely important that students complete and submit their work for evaluation in a timely manner as they move through the mini-blocks. Time management and organization will be imperative for students in order to meet with success; 

  • Students will need to communicate with their teachers regularly, and ask for support when needed. Students need to access their online classrooms and to regularly monitor their school email for reminders and notifications. It is important that they participate as they would on a regular school day and complete all learning tasks in order to stay on track;

  • Teachers have office hours that have been communicated to students. If students have questions, they are required to access this support as their teachers know best strategies to support student success; and

  • If students require additional support while they are at-home learning (opposite cohort or cohort O), they are reminded of the teachers working centrally that are available online during the hours of 10:00 - 2:00 p.m. through Microsoft Teams (link on their D2L homepages which is subject-specific - see below for the images).


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