SCS creates new daily attendance code to deal with power-related absences

WATCH: Many struggle to pay MLGW bill before students start school virtually next week

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After five or more unexcused absences, SCS parents may be charged with truancy. It’s a possibility parents must consider if they do not get their power turned on by next week.

There are several excused absences listed, including illness, death of an immediate family member, and a religious holiday.

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FOX13 reached out to Shelby County Schools to see if having no power will be considered an excused absence.

SCS Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray shared the following information on Twitter.

A new daily attendance code has been established by the District and is being shared with our schools. This new attendance code (ANC - Absent for No Connection) is to be used when a student’s parent provides an excuse which indicates the student could not participate in virtual learning that day as a result of a power outage or loss of internet connectivity. As with all absences, the student is eligible for make-up work per SCS Board Policy 6014.

In addition, we are working closely with MLGW to monitor outages and disconnections, and to determine next steps around supporting families who are experiencing a disruption in service.

“As far as my kids starting school on time. Probably not,” said Estella Bell, SCS parent.

Bell and her family moved to Memphis from Iowa.

“This is my second day here,” Bell said. “I had to fill up my gas tank to sit in line. I sat in line two hours yesterday and never got up there.”

Bell tried to get her utilities turned on before her teenagers start school virtually with Shelby County Schools.

“I’m not familiar with the schools and curriculum,” Bell said. “I think it’s best they’re at school the first day of school, even though it’s virtual, so they can get familiar.”

Nearly 100,000 Shelby County Students begin virtual learning Monday but some may be absent if they do not have power.

WATCH: Many struggle to pay MLGW bill before students start school virtually next week Part 2

"They don't have lights. They're going to be hot. They won't be able to do their work and food will go to waste," said Pollard.

Not only may kids fall behind, but according to the district’s handbook, after five unexcused absences, parents may face a truancy charge.

“This is something to be excused for. I’m sure they are aware of the things parents have to go through to start,” she said. “I do think it would be wrong to punish families because a lot of people are going through things.”