Over 34K calls made to parents on 1st day of updated OCPS absentee notification system

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County Public Schools started its implementation of its updated call notification to parents of absent students.

Monday was the first day for the district to notify parents earlier than noon for students who were not in their first-period classes.


The move comes after the disappearance and death of Madeline Soto in late February. Her mother said she didn’t receive a notification that Madeline never made it to school until after the school day ended.

“Sadly, the tragedy with Maddie brought this to light, and we’ve been able to make this change to help our families know if their child is absent in the morning,” said Superintendent Maria Vazquez.

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The district said the notifications will not replace the existing attendance call that you are familiar with getting in the early evening.

When a student is absent more than half of the day, a parent will get two calls, one in the morning and another in the evening.

“I think that it’s a little scary that they weren’t notifying parents until the end of the day,” said Chloe Powell, resident.

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The schedule is as follows for the new notification calls:

High school calls will begin at 8:55 a.m., elementary school calls will begin at 10:05 a.m., and middle school calls will begin at 11:05 a.m.

The district said Monday that 34,328 parents and guardians were called due to absent students.

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“This could include duplicates for one student and would have to be verified. To give perspective, we have 208,000 students. Mondays and Fridays are usually high-volume days since they are wraparound weekend days, and today was the Solar Eclipse,” said OCPS.

The district said it is looking at making its “Parent Portal” work in real-time. This will allow parents to see what classes their child is in at any given time of the day.

The district also said parents are encouraged to opt-in to receive text messages about attendance notifications along with calls and emails.

To opt in, text “Yes” or “Y” to 68453 to opt-in to attendance notifications via text.

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