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February 10th Is Spring Count Day


February 8th, 2021

The State School Aid Act requires two student count days each school year to determine the school’s amount of state aid. Those student count days are the first Wednesday in October and the second Wednesday in February. Student membership count for each school year is based on students in attendance on count day (which occurs in October of the current school year) and students in attendance on a supplemental count day (which occurs in February of the preceding school year). This year’s spring count day is Wednesday, February 10, 2021.

A student may be counted for purposes of the State School Aid Act if:

  • For a school district, public school academy other than a cyber school, or ISD, the student is “engaged in pandemic learning” on February 10, 2021; or
  • For a cyber school, the student is enrolled and in regular daily attendance on February 10, 2021. A student’s participation in the cyber school’s educational program is considered “regular daily attendance.”

Different criteria apply depending whether the student pursues a non-sequential or sequential course of study for determining if a student is “engaged in pandemic learning.”

Non-Sequential

A non-sequential course of study occurs when a student is enrolled and participating in each course listed on the student’s schedule for the entire term, se­mester, or trimester. A non-sequentially learning stu­dent is “engaged in pandemic learning” if the student performs at least one of the following on count day for each of the student’s scheduled courses:

  • Attends a live (synchronous) lesson with the student’s teacher (in-person or via video con­ference). The teacher must record the student’s attendance.
  • Logs into an online or virtual lesson or activity. The school must document the log-in.
  • Engages in a subject-oriented telephone conversation with the student’s teacher. The teacher must document the telephone conversation.
  • Engages in an email dialogue with the student’s teacher. The teacher must document the email dialogue.

Sequential

A sequential course of study occurs when, instead of participating in each course listed on the student’s schedule for the entire term, semester, or trimester, the student dedicates a portion of the term, semester, or trimester to completing specific courses before begin­ning other courses. A sequentially learning student is “engaged in pandemic learning” if the student performs at least one of the following on count day for each of the student’s scheduled courses. For sequential learning stu­dents, “scheduled courses” refers to those courses cur­rently being attempted by the student, rather than every course on the student’s schedule.

  • Attends a live (synchronous) lesson with the student’s teacher (in-person or via video con­ference). The teacher must record the student’s attendance.
  • Completes a course assignment. The school must document the completion.
  • Completes a course lesson or lesson activity. The school must document the completion.
  • Accesses an ongoing lesson that is not a login. The school must document the access.

Alternatively, a student (whether sequential or non-sequential) is also considered “engaged in pan­demic learning” if one of the following requirements is satisfied:

  • At least one two-way interaction occurs between the student and at least one of the stu­dent’s teachers during the week of count day and during each week for three consecutive weeks after count day. A two-way interaction is not required for each of the student’s courses. Rather, a two-way interaction for any of the student’s courses is sufficient. For pur­poses of this requirement, a week begins on Wednesday (the count day or supplemental count day) and ends the following Tuesday.
  • The student meets the traditional “enrolled and in daily regular attendance” requirement (i.e., the student physically or virtually attends and receives instruction in all of the student’s classes on count day).

If a student does not perform at least one of the above requirements on count day and the student was not excused from participation or completion (e.g., the student had an unexcused absence), the student is still considered to be “engaged in pandemic learning” if the student completes and the school documents at least one of the above requirements for each of the student’s scheduled courses within the 10 consecutive school days immediately after the count day.

If the student was excused from participation or completion (e.g., the student had an excused absence), the student must complete and the school must docu­ment at least one of those requirements for each of the student’s scheduled courses within the 30 calendar days immediately after count day.

For many schools, spring count day will look different this year. The new count day requirements were analyzed at length in our August 19, 2020 and September 30, 2020 E-Blasts, which are available to re­tainer clients on our website. If you have questions, please contact your Thrun attorney or your school’s pupil accounting auditor.