Attendance Tracking in Group Events

Overview

Group events are integrated with student attendance through two types of fields on the group event detail screen: time fields and attendance status fields. The time fields called ‘Class Departure Time’ and/or ‘Campus Return Time’ indicate which class attendance records are updated. The attendance status fields called ‘Master Attendance Status’ and ‘Class Attendance Status’ indicate the status that the attendance records will be updated with. The combination of fields update participating students’ attendance records.

Note: If both the ‘Master Attendance Status’ and ‘Class Attendance Status’ fields are left blank, attendance records will not update.

Use Cases: When to Set Master or Class Attendance

It can often be difficult to decide when to use either status. Use the following guide to determine the preferred outcome.

Master Attendance Set, Class Attendance Blank: Use this option if the preferred outcome is for the system to take the start time of the event into account. It will both update the student’s master attendance AND excuse the student from class at the start of the event (with either an early dismissal or an excused absence, depending on the time), mark the student as Absent – Excused during the duration of the event, and mark the student as Present (or Tardy – Excused) upon the end of the event if during the school day. Please note that this option does affect both Master and Class attendance statuses, even though the only field updated on the event itself is the Master Attendance field. This setting is the best option in most cases for most schools.

Note: In order for the Master Attendance to update, a Group must be associated with the event. It’s not enough to simply set the grade level/school level classifications without an actual group.

Class Attendance Set, Master Attendance Blank: Use this option if the preferred outcome is for the system to just excuse class attendance for the whole day, regardless of the start/end time of the event. Because the Master Attendance is not affected, there is no automation based on when the event takes place during the school day. This configuration might best be used for in-school events where individual students might be excused at different times (e.g., standardized testing during the school day).

Master Attendance Set and Class Attendance Set: As mentioned above, this configuration is invalid, and the attendance records will not update.

Available Master/Class Attendance Status

Schools may choose which master attendance and/or class attendance status they would like student attendance records to update to when they attend the event.

  1. Master attendance status options include the following:
    1. The ‘not expected’ system status. Depending upon your school’s configuration, this status is either in the ‘present’ or ‘absence’ attendance category.
    2. Any status that is in the ‘present’ category that is marked as “excused.”
    3. Any status in the ‘early dismissal’ category that is marked as “excused.”
  2. Schools should give careful thought to the master attendance status that they wish to use. Veracross highly recommends selecting a status in the ‘present’ category that is marked as ‘excused’ (option ‘2’ above). This way, schools can ensure that group events, such as field trips or athletic games, will NOT be counted toward a student’s total absences because the student is participating in a school function. In other words, using option ‘2’ ensures that the students are counted as ‘present.’ If you would like to add additional ‘present’ statuses to the dropdown (e.g., a status called “school function”) please speak with your Account Manager.

    On the other hand, if option ‘1’ is used for a group event in which students are dismissed early (provided the ‘not expected’ is in the ‘absence’ attendance category), this would count as a half day excused absence. Likewise, if option ‘3’ is used for a group event in which students are dismissed early, this too would count as a half day excused absence. Many schools do not use options ‘1’ or ‘3’ because using these options for school related functions would inflate the total number of days a student is considered absent from school, instead of purely using absence statuses for non-school related things.

  3. Class attendance status options include the following:
    1. Any status in the ‘Present’ attendance category that is marked “excused.”
    2. Any status in the ‘Absence’ attendance category that is marked “excused.”

Common Question: Is it possible to add additional Attendance Status categories to the status dropdowns?
Answer: No. By definition, events with attendance being excused are school-sponsored –so it is not valid for them to be tardy or absent. The “not expected” status is just shorthand for “not expected in class.” Likewise, the Early Dismissal status is another non Absent or Tardy status and so is included.

Configuring Student Attendance on Group Events

If the event involves students and should update attendance records, complete the following steps:

  1. Specify the students who will attend the event by adding a group (or groups) on the Groups tab.
  2. Add a start and end time (if applicable) to the event.
  3. If students will need to leave class before the event’s start time, please specify a ‘Class Departure Time’ for the event. If students will be leaving class at the same time as the event’s start time then no ‘Class Departure Time’ is needed.
  4. If students will be returning to class after the event’s end time, please specify the ‘Campus Return Time’ on the event. This is the time students will be expected back in their classes. If students are expected back in their classes at the same time as the event’s end time then no ‘Campus Return Time’ is needed.
  5. Select the master attendance and/or class attendance status from the General tab. This indicates which status(es) will be used to automatically update student attendance records.

Note: The ‘Student Attendance’ tab of the group event screen can also be used to manage the attendance propagation from a group event to student attendance.

Propagating Group Event Attendance to Student Attendance

The following outlines a range of possible group event scenarios and the attendance configuration needed in order to automatically update student attendance.

Morning Event

  • Event Scenario: The group event occurs in the early morning and causes the student to miss the first part of the school day.
  • Group Event Configuration:
    1. Set the ‘Start Time’ on or before the start of school.
    2. Set the ‘End Time’ of the event.
    3. Set the ‘Campus Return Time’ as appropriate.
    4. Select the ‘Master Attendance Status’ if desired.
    5. Select the ‘Class Attendance Status’ if desired.
  • Result:
    1. Class attendance records that overlap with a student’s morning absence (i.e. all classes that begin before the ‘Campus Return Time’) will be set to the class attendance status specified on the group event.
    2. Class attendance records that begin after the ‘Campus Return Time’ will not be affected.
    3. Class attendance notes will display the following: [At Event: Description of Event, Class_Departure_Time – Campus_Return_Time].
      For example: At Event: Field Trip 1:00pm – 3:00pm. If a class departure time has not been set on the group event, then the time entered in the ‘Start Time’ field is used. If a campus return time has not been set on the group event, then the time entered in the ‘End Time’ field is used.
    4. Students’ master attendance will remain unchanged unless a master attendance status was specified on the group event record.
    5. The master attendance notes will be populated with the same as class attendance notes only if a master attendance status was specified on the group event.
    6. The master attendance ‘Return Time’ field will be populated only if a master attendance status and the ‘Campus Return Time’ field was specified on the group event.
  • Note: If only a ‘Master Attendance Status’ is selected on the group event, all affected class attendance records will automatically be set to the ‘Not Expected’ status.

Afternoon Event

  • Event Scenario: The group event occurs in the afternoon and causes the student to be dismissed early.
  • Group Event Configuration:
    1. Set the ‘Start Time’ of the event.
    2. Set the ‘End Time’ of the event for after the end of the school day.
    3. Set the ‘Class Departure Time’ as appropriate.
    4. Select the ‘Master Attendance Status’ if desired.
    5. Select the ‘Class Attendance Status’ if desired.
  • Result:
    1. Class attendance records that overlap with the ‘Class Departure Time’ will be set to the class attendance status specified on the group event.
    2. Class attendance records that end before the ‘Class Departure Time’ will not be affected.
    3. Class attendance notes will display the following: [At Event: Description of Event, Class_Departure_Time – Campus_Return_Time].
      For example: At Event: Field Trip 1:00pm – 3:00pm. If a class departure time has not been set on the group event, then the time entered in the ‘Start Time’ field is used. If a campus return time has not been set on the group event, then the time entered in the ‘End Time’ field is used.
    4. Students’ master attendance will remain unchanged unless a master attendance status was specified on the group event record.
    5. The master attendance notes will be populated with the same as class attendance notes only if a master attendance status was specified on the group event.
    6. The master attendance ‘Early Dismissal Time’ field will be populated only if a master attendance status and the ‘Class Departure Time’ was specified on the group event.
  • If only a ‘Master Attendance Status’ is selected on the group event, all affected class attendance records will automatically be set to the ‘Not Expected’ status, except for the class attendance record where the class departure time falls between the start and end times of a class. That particular class attendance record will show ‘Dismissal-Excused’.

Mid-Day Event

  • Event Scenario: The group event occurs mid-day and the student leaves class early for a group event, and then returns to campus later.
  • Group Event Configuration:
    1. Set the ‘Start Time’ of the event.
    2. Set the ‘End Time’ of the event.
    3. Set the ‘Class Departure Time’ as appropriate.
    4. Set the ‘Campus Return Time’ as appropriate.
    5. Select the desired ‘Master Attendance Status.’
  • Result:
    1. The class attendance record for which the ‘Class Departure Time’ falls between the start and end time of the class will show ‘Dismissal-Excused.’
    2. The class attendance record for which the ‘Campus Return Time’ falls between the start and end time of the class will show ‘Tardy-Excused.’
    3. The class attendance records for which the ‘Campus Departure Time’ is before the start of class, and the ‘Campus Return Time’ is after the end of class, the class attendance status’ will show ‘Not Expected.’
    4. Class attendance notes will display the following: [At Event: Description of Event, Class_Departure_Time – Campus_Return_Time].
      For example: At Event: Field Trip 1:00pm – 3:00pm. If a class departure time has not been set on the group event, then the time entered in the ‘Start Time’ field is used. If a campus return time has not been set on the group event, then the time entered in the ‘End Time’ field is used.
    5. Students’ master attendance will show the master attendance that was specified on the group event unless it was previously set to something other than ‘Present’ by the teacher or front office staff.
    6. The master attendance notes will be populated with the same as class attendance notes.
    7. The master attendance ‘Early Dismissal Time’ and ‘Return Time’ fields will be populated.

All Day Event

  • Event Scenario: The group event occurs all day and the student is not present in school.
  • Group Event Configuration:
    1. Set the ‘Start Time’ of the event (optional).
    2. Set the ‘End Time’ of the event (optional).
    3. Set the desired ‘Master Attendance Status.’
  • Result:
    The student’s master attendance record will be updated to the master attendance status set on the group event. Please note that the master attendance status for the group event will not automatically propagate to the master attendance status for the school day, and because of this, teachers will still need to take attendance for this student.

Multiple Day Event

  • Event Scenario: The group event occurs over multiple days and the student is not present for any portion of the days.
  • Group Event Configuration:
    1. Set the ‘Start time’ of the event (optional).
    2. Set the ‘End Time’ of the event (optional).
    3. Set the desired ‘Master Attendance Status’.
  • Result:
    The student’s master attendance record will be updated to the master attendance status set on the group event. Please note that the master attendance status for the group event will not automatically propagate to the master attendance status for all school days occurring during this event, and because of this, teachers will still need to take attendance for this student while they are gone.

Multiple Day Event with Early Dismissal

  • Event Scenario: A student is dismissed early from school to attend a group event which lasts over multiple days.
  • Group Event Configuration:
    • Event One:
      1. Set the ‘Start Time’ of the event.
      2. Set the ‘End Time’ of the event for after the end of the school day.
      3. Set the ‘Class Departure Time’ as appropriate.
      4. Select the ‘Master Attendance Status’ if desired.
      5. Select the ‘Class Attendance Status’ if desired.
    • Event Two:
      1. Set the ‘Start time’ of the event (optional).
      2. Set the ‘End Time’ of the event (optional).
      3. Set the desired ‘Master Attendance Status’.
  • Result:
    Two separate events must be created for this scenario; an Afternoon Event and either an All Day Event or a Multiple Day Event, depending on the event’s length. The Afternoon Event accounts for the student leaving school early to attend the event and the All Day/Multiple Day event accounts for entire additional day(s) the student is absent from classes. All event types utilized in this manner are detailed above.

Event Attendance: Declined/Did Not Attend

In addition to the propagation of group event attendance to student attendance records is the ability to track attendance for the event itself. This can be done both for the basic reason of managing who attended events, but more importantly, for the integration with Master and Class attendance if the student’s status was “decline” or “did not attend” a particular event. Tracking attendance to the event is managed from the ‘Event Attendance’ tab on the Group Event record. A school will typically select from one of the two “attendance taken” options to default students’ event participation status to ‘invited’ or ‘attended’. Students who are not participating in the event can be marked manually as either “declined” or “did not attend” (whichever is appropriate for the group event in question). For Events that had an effect on student Master and/or Class attendance, marking the student Declined or Did Not Attend for their Group Event Attendance record will revert their Master and Class attendance status back to “Present” for the day in question. Such changes must be made at least 1 day in advance of the date of the event in order for “declined” or “did not attend” to return the Master/Class attendance to Present. NOTE: Simply deleting the student’s Event Attendance record is not sufficient to revert their master or class attendance status to Present; the attendance integration specifically requires that the student’s attendance status for the event be either Declined or Did not attend.

Distribution lists are also automatically created to easily email those invited, unconfirmed, confirmed, declined, and attended.