Altered Requirements

How quarantining has affected A+ attendance and SAMs

Altered Requirements

by Ella Sulwer, Social Media Manager

With many students being quarantined due to contact tracing this school year, students enrolled in the A+ program might be wondering about their attendance and eligibility. The A+ program offers students the opportunity to gain scholarship funds to attend two years at a participating community college or vocational/technical school. One of the several requirements to be eligible for the program is having at least 95 percent attendance overall for all four years of high school. With COVID-19 and students possibly either getting COVID, getting sent home to quarantine, or choosing to do school virtually many questions arise when looking at the program’s requirements. 

“When you are quarantined it’s not counting against your attendance. Typically in the past if you missed school for any amount of time it would be counting against your A + attendance,” counselor Sarah Scaturro said, “but if you’re quarantined, we mark it in a different code, so it won’t hurt your attendance record.”

Although quarantine attendance is excused it is still important to make sure students understand in-person attendance will not be excused in every circumstance and remains like previous school years.

“It would count against your attendance if you weren’t feeling good. Say you had symptoms like if you had a runny nose and a headache and you called in that day sick, you would be marked absent that day, and then let’s say you decide to get tested the next day or over the weekend,” attendance secretary Sarah Schiffer said. “So that first day before we have any test or anything to show you are quarantined would be a medically excused absence instead.”

While A+ attendance might not be a concern for quarantined students, a lot of people have struggled to get caught back up on their school work since they don’t thrive in virtual school.  

“It’s been much more challenging for students, especially if they had chosen in-person learning and have been forced to quarantine because they have gotten sick or because of contacts,” Scaturro said. “It does make things more difficult and somes kids have seen their grades fall behind and have had a kind of hard time catching up.”

Although attendance might be a well-known requirement, other things that are needed to be eligible have been altered to fit this school year as well. 

“So we did have a couple students who were virtual students who needed to be in SAMS, and we have kind of gotten a bit flexible with how that looks, so they can either help a sibling in their home or a neighbor, or they can Zoom into a classroom and join the breakout session and help some students that way as well,” Scaturro said. “So we definitely made some adjustments so they can meet their requirements.”

SAMs is a class period offered where students can acquire the 50 hours of unpaid tutoring/mentoring they need for the program. Aside from the last few months of last school year, this is the first year students have been able to take SAMs virtually to fulfill the requirement.

“So if they are virtual or quarantined they would email me that they are here for SAMs and then they could log into the classroom that they are SAMsing for,” Schiffer said.

So with both SAMs and attendance having a few alterations, students might be wondering how to even check their overall attendance. 

“They can talk with Ms. Schiffer or sign up to talk with their counselor to tell them what their actual percentage is,” Scaturro said, “and how many hours they have left to stay eligible.”

 

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