Daily Absence Tracking Pilot: Technical Explanation
Explaining the Data in the UGDSB’s Daily Absence Tracking Pilot
- For the UGDSB Daily Absence Tracking Pilot main page, please click here.
- When a school reaches 30% above the school’s “average absenteeism rate,” this is highlighted on the Dashboard posted on the board’s public website.
- It is important to note the sensitivity of our approach. To explain, each school’s 30% threshold depends on the school’s “average daily absences” from the fall as opposed to the simpler calculation of 30% “overall absences.”
- For example, if a school has a total student/staff population of 300 they would meet their 30% overall absence at 90 daily absences. However, if that same school had an average daily absence rate of 20 in the fall then their 30% threshold, based on our model, would be achieved each day that absences surpass 26 (i.e. 30% of the fall baseline, average daily absence).
- Our model also adjusts for absences that are reported to be for reasons other than illness or isolation e.g. a parent choosing to have their child learn through our temporary remote learning program. The goal of our pilot is to show trends in absences due to illness/isolation in relation to the pattern of absences for that school in the fall.
To help further explain the data and calculations, please see the chart and graphs below. The first chart and explanation following it breaks down the numbers and shows the math.
UGDSB Attendance Tool Explained:
- GVCI – baseline average daily absence rate = B% (i.e. absences from Sept. – Dec. 2021 / instructional days / population of school x 100)
- GVCI – COVID-related absence rate on this day = D%. (i.e. absences related to COVID or unexplained as other / total pop x 100)
- GVCI percentage point difference = D-B
What does this mean?
- It means that on this day, absences were 4.7 percentage points ABOVE the daily average
- This was an 58% INCREASE over the daily average for this school
- Based on the UGDSB method – a notification was sent to Public Health that an increase of 30% or more happened this day
- Overall there were 12.7% absences on this day
- If we based our calculation on just looking at absences and not comparing them to the average daily amount, a notification would NOT have been sent to Public Health
The two following graphs, using the same data, show when a notification to Public Health is triggered, using both the UGDSB threshold of 30% above the school’s average absenteeism rate (red line), vs 30% of the overall absences (blue line). As you can see, the UGDSB process is much more sensitive, resulting in more instances of reporting to Public Health that a school has reached the 30% threshold, erring on the side of over-reporting rather than under-reporting. When the board sends notification to Public Health, we take any direction they provide with regards to next steps, if required. To date, none of our schools would have met the 30% of population threshold to send a notice to Public Health. With the UGDSB method and threshold we have sent more than 50 notices to Public Health since in-person learning resumed in January. If you have questions or concerns about your school, please contact the school principal.
Definitions for the Data in the Daily Absence Tracking Pilot
Total Number of Students and Staff
This includes all students who attend a particular school. It does not include those students who are registered and attend either the Elementary Remote Program and the Secondary Remote Program. Staff includes all teachers, educational assistants, administration and support staff who are assigned to that site.
Absences Compared to the Average (percentage point increase or decrease)
This includes all students who are absent and have not reported a non-COVID reason for their absence to their school, adjusted for the average absence rate for that particular school. The average absence rate was calculated for each school based on attendance data from September 2021 to December 2021. This figure is used as a baseline to compare daily absences, so as to not overstate potential COVID-related absences.
For example, School A had an average daily absence rate of 10% from September to December, 2021. On January 17, the school has an absence rate of 15%. The number that would be reported under this column would be a percentage point increase of 5.
For staff, the percentage reported includes all staff who are off for COVID-related reasons. These totals are aggregated to protect the identity of any staff and students who may be absent related to COVID.
Change from Previous Day
This number indicates the percentage point change from the previous day, and whether that change is an increase or decrease.
The charts also indicate when a school is 30% above the average absenteeism by highlighting the cell where the school name is located.