WACO, TX — For this semester at Waco ISD, perfect attendance is a thing of the past.
Instead, the school districts will be monitoring engagement to decide if a student is ready for the next grade level.
Self-proclaimed bookworms Natali and Valeri Valdez say they look forward to going to school every day.
"Happy that I'm at school every day, so I can learn everything" says Natali.
So much so that they both received awards for having perfect attendance last year, an accomplishment that wont be possible this year as the pandemic forced students to learn from home.
"It feels weird not having the teacher in front of your face actually teaching you how to do it," says Natali.
In the past, if Waco ISD students were in attendance less than 90% of the school year they would have to make up the time.
Otherwise, they could face getting held back.
But this semester things will look a little different.
"We're monitoring engagement. Attendance is different now, so it's are kids getting online, doing their lessons that are being provided for them," says Deena Cornblum the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at Waco ISD.
Cornblum says attendance during the first semester will still count.
Students have a weekly course load they complete at their own pace and not completing it could have consequences.
"Right now, that is the most important thing you can do... is to have your child engage with the work that we're working on now cause that will take them to the end of the year and could affect their placement for next year." says Cornblum
Waco ISD's last day of school is May 28th. Students have until June 30th to submit their classwork.
For families with limited access to internet, school districts are releasing hard copy school work as an alternative.