This school year, students are required to scan in at the door with their identification cards for attendance purposes when entering a classroom at Barnstable High School. The scanners were originally used to track the path of any potential COVID-19 case, and were installed in every designated space by the technology department. For this year, they are utilized to record attendance to relieve teachers of some of the burden. However, since the first day of school, there has been mass confusion and an additional headache and more work for both students and teachers.
One of the issues of the new attendance taking system with RFID cards is the inaccuracy.
“I have been marked tardy for school multiple times when I have actually scanned in, and they have called my parents’ home. It has been a whole ordeal when there is actually no issue,”Junior Alexis Brown said.
As a result of the inaccuracies of the RFID attendance system, parents can get a call home from the school which can cause worries for parents when their child is actually in class.An additional problem students and staff face is the clear cut five minute passing time deadline with no account taken for students who show up late with a pass from another teacher.
“The RFIDS are constantly marking us late for class and marking us absent when a lot of times there is an underlying reason for that such as you stay in your previous class a little late with a teacher’s pass and you get your next class and they mark you tardy unless the teacher emails the people in charge of attendance,” Junior Noah Czech said.
Keegan Farrenkopf, a junior, also shared similar concerns. “Certain situations aren’t taken into account and it just puts more work onto the teachers for no reason,” Farrenkopf said.
One of the major issues students have is that if they for some reason leave their RFID at home, they have to go to the main office and get a whole brand new one. Maldonado added “there has to be a temporary solution if a kid forgets an RFID card, we can’t just be giving them a brand new card just to use for one day.”
Teachers have also expressed concerns with the new way of taking attendance.
“If a person comes late I have to send an email to their hub office explaining if a person came with a pass, how the person shouldn’t be marked tardy even though they were tardy. We, as teachers, have to take additional steps on top of the fact that we still take our own attendance because the system can randomly not work. So basically we are doing double the work,” Beth Anderson, a forensics teacher said.
However, Anderson also added that “it has positive intent in the fact that it puts ownership on the kid to sign in for their classes.”
Administration is also remaining optimistic about the benefits of the RFID attendance system.
“I think our new system because it does record the attendance, it is starting to really come together”. It is just getting kids responsible for bringing their card to scan in for attendance every day,” Mary Ellen Yalmokas, Hub 1 administrative assistant said.
Yalmokas also said that “There are some kinks to work out and we are working on fixing them as we speak.”
However, students are pushing for a return to the normal attendance taking system
“The school should scrap the RFID system. I don’t see any real benefit and it creates a lot of unnecessary problems,”said Madison Maldonado, a Junior.
Czech also said,“I think the teachers should go back to taking normal attendance. It might take a little longer and it may affect a little bit of class time but in all honesty it takes under five minutes and it saves headaches down the road”.