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TUSD to begin using robocalls to combat absences

Posted at 10:28 PM, Dec 04, 2020

TUCSON, Ariz. — Southern Arizona school districts are reacting to chronic absenteeism during the pandemic.

Tucson Unified School District is tackling that issue right now with robocalls.

The district sent a notice to all parents about the robocalls, letting them know they'll get a call at the end of any day when students are marked absent for one or more zoom sessions.

They're supposed to be in Zoom meetings, but they don't show up to that, that particular day," said one staffer who wanted to remain anonymous. "The kids aren't doing what they're supposed to do. Talk about accountability. They're just not even showing up."

The worker says a lot of students aren't showing up, and it's getting worse.

For example, they said less than half of the students logged in during the first quarter.

"I think the numbers are going down tremendously, to be honest," said the staff.

According to our anonymous source, students are digitally ditching math, English, and science. They said it's a huge concern.

"They want to show up for P.E., a lot of theater --- a lot of art, you know, a lot of the electives, but they wouldn't show up for a lot of the cores," said the staffer.

A letter sent by the district explains how parents can deal with the attendance issues, by excusing or converting them.

Another staffer tells us that teachers can't call every parent of absent students because there are too many of them.

"Obviously teachers are pushing back because they don't have time to do that," they said.