Nearly 700 elementary students marked absent on first day of virtual learning in Providence

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – According to a spokesperson from the Providence Public School District, 699 elementary school students were marked absent from the Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) on the first day of school.

On the second day, 474 students were marked absent from the virtual learning program.

Ahead of the first day of school, VLA elementary teachers were tasked with reaching out to the students to provide them with login information.

However, at the start of the first day of school on Monday, district officials heard a number of reports from VLA families about their inability to connect with their teachers. The majority of these reports were at the elementary level.

Concerned that some elementary teachers had still not reached their students by close of business on Monday, the district conducted separate outreach to families. From that district outreach, clear patterns emerged that identified a handful of elementary teachers who had not met clear expectations for family outreach. Nor did it appear that this group of teachers had alerted the district to communication issues during the school day, according to the district spokesperson.

The district released the following statement:

The Virtual Learning Academy remains an important alternative for Providence families who feel strongly that their children should attend school 100% remotely during the current health situation. For some families, the VLA did not get off to positive start, and we are working hard to ensure that any shortfalls, including a number of technology issues, get corrected. We have worked and continue to work to address these challenges as they crop up.

The key to success in all our efforts are our teachers. The vast majority of our VLA teachers have been working hard to engage students and connect with families, and we appreciate their dedication and professionalism. They have also showed great flexibility in adapting to a new format of teaching.

District officials said in order for their work to be successful, they must prioritize strong customer service.

The district will be following up with the individual teachers involved to learn more and address these issues. Officials are also working to identify additional organizations that might be able to bolster distance learning options.

Categories: Back to School, News, Our Schools, Regional News, Rhode Island