The process that determines which parents should be called when a student is absent from school, is based on the information that you will see in SchoolTool under the Attendance>Today's Attendance View:
If we use the sample image above as an example, we can tell exactly who will receive attendance calls from SchoolMessenger simply by looking at two key columns (highlighted with the blue squares and yellow rows):
- Type= Only records with a type of "Absent"
- Reason = Only records where the "Reason" is blank (no reason)
So that means that only contacts for students who have a type of "Absent" --AND-- NO "Reason" for the absence will be a candidate to receive attendance calls from SchoolMessenger. Using the sample image above, that means only the contacts for students on rows 1,3,4,5,8 and 9 will receive absence calls from SchoolMessenger (rows highlighted in yellow).
How do I make sure that the contacts for a specific student receive an absence call from SchoolMessenger?
Make sure that the student's absence is NOT given a reason until AFTER the scheduled time that SchoolMessenger looks at your building's "Today's Attendance" view. For more information, read on.
How do I prevent calls from being made to the contacts for a specific student's absence?
Simply give the absence a REASON PRIOR to the time at which SchoolMessenger has been scheduled to look at your building's "Today's Attendance" view. For more information, read on.
What does all this mean for attendance officers?
Attendance officers need to be keenly aware of the exact time at which SchoolMessenger has been programmed to look at their school building's "Today's Attendance" view (e.g. we don't make calls for the Elementary building until after 8:30 AM).
Once the exact time is known, it is critical that the attendance officer supply reasons for any record that appears in this view, BUT only for students whose contact's should NOT receive SchoolMessenger Attendance calls that day.
The specific "reason" the attendance officer provides in this case for an absence is absolutely irrelevant, because SchoolMessenger only looks at absence records where the "Reason" is blank, making it so that any reason that's given by the attendance officer for a student's absence, will prevent calls for that student from being made.
Again, reasons must be applied to absences in each school building BEFORE the scheduled time at which SchoolMessenger has been programmed to look at the "Today's Attendance" view for that building.
Knowing what that time is for the building an attendance officer manages, is paramount!
Why is the "Reason" the key value that's looked at when it comes to "Absent" records and making calls?
The purpose of using SchoolMessenger to make attendance calls is to prompt parents to call and provide the school with a reason for a student's absence when the reason isn't otherwise known. Attendance officers should not be providing reasons for absences, until they have received actual verification as to why the student was absent.
By supplying a reason for an absence in SchoolTool (regardless of the reason you give), you are telling SchoolMessenger, that you know why the student is absent. By supplying a reason for an absence in SchoolTool, you are effectively stating that you have received actual verification from the student's parent/guardian, describing why the student was absent.
Therefore, SchoolMessenger has no need to call the contacts for students whom you have a verified reason for their absence on file, prior to the time it is programmed to make calls regardless of the reason for their absence. If a reason has been given for a student's absence, there's no need to call the contacts for that student, regardless of the reason you specify.
Attendance officers need to refrain from providing reasons for student absences in situations where no official verification of the absence has been provided by their parent/guardian, until at least after the automated calls are made to those contacts each school day.
Attendance Officers can if they wish, provided reasons for absences each day AFTER the automated call time if they wish, but keep in mind the information above and that by providing a reason for an absence, you are effectively stating that you received a formal reason for the absence from the student's parent/guardian.