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School Attendance: Adapting to Our New Normal and New Strategies for Chronic Absence

The 2020-21 school year will be unlike anything that students, parents, and educators have ever faced. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced districts across Connecticut, and the rest of the country, to develop entirely new teaching strategies as in-person education remains uncertain, and in some cases impossible. Families have already felt the impact of closed schools and disrupted learning, and those disruptions will continue throughout the pandemic. Because of this, The Governor’s Prevention Partnership, in collaboration with Attendance Works and the Connecticut State Department of Education, is helping to promote new guidance and strategies for organizations, mentors, parents, and caregivers.

Improving attendance and reducing chronic absenteeism takes commitment, collaboration, and tailored approaches to the challenges and strengths of each school community. Schools, communities, and advocates across Connecticut are taking steps to ensure children are attending school more regularly, in whatever form that will take during COVID-19.

Tip Sheets in English and Spanish

The following tip sheets have been redesigned with our “new normal” in mind. New tip sheets will be added throughout the school year as more research becomes available.

These sheets were developed in collaboration with Attendance Works. For even more resources on the importance of attendance and best practices for the return to school, visit Attendance Work's 2020 Attendance Awareness Campaign page.

Creating Safe and Supportive Learning Environments
Tips for Reducing Chronic Absence
Promoting Attendance During Distance Learning: Five Key Areas

Relationship Building Checklist

Checklist for Building Developmental Relationships from a Distance - Search Institute

Useful Links

Social Media Tools

We are also providing social media graphics and videos that you can use to share on your social media pages and/or and enlist stakeholders who can help get the message out. 

School Attendance Social Tiles

To save a social tile:

Right click (control click on Mac), save image as, choose a location, save.

MENTOR's Back To School Videos

For even more of these inspiring videos, visit MENTOR's back to school page.

Upcoming Webinars

Promoting Attendance During Distance Learning

Integrating Virtual Mentoring into Your School-Based Mentoring Program with Free Technical Assistance and Training Webinars

During the early days of the pandemic, The Partnership heard from many mentoring program coordinators who wanted to ensure that their mentors did not lose contact with their mentees while in isolation. Webster Bank sponsored what we called a series of Friday Forums. These presented opportunities for coordinators from across our state and beyond to review Virtual Mentoring Guidelines, learn how to train mentors to work safely and virtually with their mentees, examine available platforms and even offered tips for virtual mentoring etiquette. 

Some programs were not quite sure how they would move forward in September. Now that it is back to school and back to mentoring – albeit virtual – if you did not attend the webinars this spring, here is your opportunity to do so. The Partnership is offering two special webinars, one for Mentoring Coordinators on Virtual Mentoring Guidelines and a second one where coordinators extend an invitation to their mentors to join and learn. Included will be examples of hybrid models, that is, a combination of audio, text, e-mail and even Facetime. Both webinars are free. 

Please register to join us. The dates and links to the webinars are as follows: 

For more information, contact: 

Aristede Hill, Mentoring Program Manager 

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