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Update: Students missing from Sunnyside remote learning found

More than 1,000 students didn't log in first week of school
Posted at 4:54 PM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 20:23:44-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Districts are now having to do digital counts of students.

About 10 percent of Sunnyside students didn't log into their classes during the first week of school. But now the missing students have been found.

Sunnyside district has been shrinking in size, about 3 percent a year, because of an aging community.

But Superintendent Steve Holmes worried when 10 percent of the students did not log in after the first week of remote learning.

"It's somewhat typical that what we see in the first few days, but when you're under these conditions , I think the tension and stakes are higher," he said

So the district moved fast and staff stepped up to help.

It became a full-force effort with teachers, paraprofessionals, office staff and principals working hard "to make calls, make contact. We had principals make home visits, delivering devices at home and sometime devices and pizza because they were trying to get the family fed," said Holmes.

They found a majority of the missing students and also discovered why they hadn't logged in.

There was a huge range of reasons.

"One was connectivity -- that certainly is one we can't discount. But it didn't account for the majority," said Holmes.

Most families said they didn't know school had started yet.

"It was a range of lack of communication and whether they received the message or not, the onus falls on us making sure we make the calls and so the personal touch helped," said Holmes.

Holmes said he's working with staff to further improve communication with families in the district.

The district reports it did not lose more students because of the COVID-19 pandemic.