Some Chicago schools are struggling with remote attendance

Chicago schools reported roughly 84% citywide attendance for the first day of remote classes, but some schools had fewer than half of students log in.

Attendance increased citywide over the first three days, with 90.2% citywide Thursday, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Still, first day attendance numbers were 10 percentage points lower compared with last year’s first day with traditional classes. Chicago schools shifted to online learning for the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“While our first day attendance rate is lower than in-person school comparisons due to challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, I am encouraged by our outreach efforts, which will remain ongoing as we work to ensure families have what they need to participate in remote learning,” Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson said in a statement.

Some of the districts more than 500 schools reported 100% attendance, but others lagged far behind.

Teachers say some students lacked devices or reliable internet access. School officials say they’re still trying to close the digital divide by doling out 100,000 laptops.

Ellington Elementary, on Chicago’s West Side, reported 66% attendance Tuesday. Principal Shirley Scott said she was optimistic about the coming weeks as some parents were still picking up laptops.