NEW JERSEY - Max Rodriguez, a sophomore at Elizabeth High School in New Jersey has been learning remotely for a year now. He never thought he would be learning from home for this long, let alone logging in to his math class from a different country.
Rodriguez is one of the hundreds of students in the Elizabeth school district who has been logging in remotely from a different country.
"There is a time difference. Ecuador is an hour behind so I almost missed my first class," said Rodriguez.
This past December Rodriguez’s mother told him they needed to fly out to Ecuador because his grandfather was sick. For two months, he joined his classmates from there.
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Out-of-country logins have become increasingly common lately.
The Elizabeth school district, which has about 28,000 students and is home to a large immigrant population, has seen over 2 percent of its students logging in from at least 24 different countries.
"To the school district, whether if a student is temporarily in Ecuador or Egypt, they are still an Elizabeth school student and we are going to do our best to educate them," says Pat Politano, the spokesman for the Elizabeth school district.
Politano says no matter where the student is, attendance is required.
He says these are extraordinary times. In a year where there has been so much uncertainty, the goal he says is to make sure students are getting their education.
"The superintendent and board of education have been emphatic that we will do everything possible to enable that. These are extraordinary circumstances. Extraordinary times to make that extraordinary effort and the school district will make that extraordinary effort too," said Politano.
Meanwhile when it comes to attendance the New Jersey Department of Education says it's a local decision. Each district needs to develop, adopt, and implement attendance policies and procedures.
Its "road back guidance," calls for districts to consider "creative, flexible solutions in attendance monitoring."
With that being said, not every school district in New Jersey is allowing students to log in from outside of the country.