COVID-19 - Wider Opening from 1st June - FAQs

There is a lot of information to digest at the moment and we are getting a lot of the same questions so we are compiling them here. We will be continuously adding to this document so please come back and check it each day!


Will schools be held to account for their attendance data at this time?

The DfE have confirmed that school must start to take attendance in their MIS again however they 'will not held to account for attendance levels' (taken from section 7.8 of the DfE's guidance here). Schools should also continue to complete the DfE’s online form each day:


Setting up 

Do I need to create bubble registers? 

You don’t need to create additional registers however this may help manage the measures set by the DfE. Having separate registers makes it easier to see who is meant to be present. 

You can use your current registers but this may be more difficult to track the number of students in each group and where you have allocated your staff.

Can I use the Covid-19 Dashboard without bubble registers?

You can use the Covid-19 Dashboard whether you create bubble registers or not. To get an accurate Daily Report you will need to go into the Settings page in the Covid-19 Dashboard and set which Custom Groups you want to count as Vulnerable groups or Social Worker groups. 

How do I add students into Custom Groups?

Although we provisioned some Custom Groups On the 23rd March onto all sites to help identify some possible vulnerable students, we recommend that you set up new custom groups manually to group your vulnerable students together. 

Here are the groups we provisioned:

  • EHCP Students - All students with an SEN status with an Education, Health and Care Plan.
  • Has Social Worker (CiN) - All students who's Child Protection Status is Child in Need.
  • Has Social Worker (LAC) - All students who are marked as Looked After (In Care).
  • Students with Critical Worker Parents/Guardians - All students who have at least one primary guardian who is a Key Worker.
  • Vulnerable (Child Protection Status) - All students who's Child Protection Status is Child protection plan, Monitoring, or Child in need.

Students cannot be added to these groups as they are created using specific criteria. We recommend that you set up new custom groups manually to group your vulnerable students together for use on the Covid-19 Dashboard.

What does vulnerable student mean in Arbor? 

This is defined by each individual school. Although we provisioned some Custom Groups On the 23rd March onto all sites to help identify some possible vulnerable students, we recommend that you set up new custom groups manually to group your vulnerable students together. The DfE guidance on defining these students can be found here.

How do I add a key worker?

If you need to update a parent as a key worker you can do this on their profile. If you go to a parents profile by either searching their name or clicking through to their profile from the students. You will be able to see under the Identity section the option to set a key worker status. 


Viewing your registers and the COVID-19 Dashboard

I can't see the Covid-19 Dashboard?

If you are unable to see the COVID-19 Dashboard, this could be due to your permissions. The permissions you need are below but if you need others adding please speak to your data controller at the school and point them to this article here


How would teachers see their new registers?

To ensure teachers are able to access their new register you have to ensure they are the academic lead of the course or module. This article will help you with this.

How do I access my evacuation register?

Due to the additional bubble classes you may be creating from 1st June the best way to create an evacuation register has changed, because it will not show your new bubble classes. You can generate a printable register for one lesson from the Lesson Dashboard, or to generate printable registers for the whole day, go to Students > Attendance > Reports.

Why is my register already marked in the afternoon?

This happens when only one register has been set up for your bubble groups for the whole day. To take separate attendance registers in the morning and afternoon, you will have needed to schedule both AM and PM sessions, with a gap between for lunch. You can add missing PM sessions by going to School > Programmes > 2019/2020 Courses and selecting the bottom-level course, then scheduling more Classes & Lessons.


Taking attendance

Our school is not opening more widely until a date after 1st June, what do we do?

You'll need to implement the new attendance guidance from 1st June, even if you are not opening more widely yet. This means if you are still partially open, you should switch over to using X marks instead of the # code manually or by using our Auto-fill attendance marks.

Do I need to backdate marks prior to 1st June?

All of your attendance marks prior to the 1st of June should be showing as the # code due to school closures enforced by the DfE. You will only need to make changes if your marks aren't showing as # if you need help with editing previous marks please see this article

You don't need to backdate any registers before the 1st of June as the new DfE recognised attendance codes start from then. 

What absence marks do I use if a student is not here?

Once you've figured out which marks to use, you can use our Auto-fill option to automatically fill in blank marks with # or X. You can also use Bulk Edit Marks or planned absences to fill in these codes manually, or fill in others such as the C code.

For complete definitions, please see this article.


What mark do I give an eligible student who doesn’t attend?

If a student is not sick and is due to come to school, but their parent/guardian decides for them not to attend this would be a C mark. You can use Bulk Edit Marks or planned absences to fill in this code.

What automatic attendance option do I pick?

To allow you to focus on the students who are coming in, we've created the option to allow Arbor to take care of the marks for students who are not expected in. If you select one of the automatic options, we will update any marks overnight.

The options are:

  1. Closed - Our school is fully closed (also closed to key worker children). Arbor will overwrite all marks with # at the end of the day.
  2. Partially Open - Our school is open to some year groups and/or key worker children. Arbor will mark all blank marks with X at the end of the day.
  3. Manual - No automation - our school will handle attendance manually. Arbor will not set any automatic attendance.

To help you decide which option suits your school, answer the following questions.


By default, we will not apply any of these options. If you had previously selected Auto-fill all future marks to ‘#’ we will continue to bulk fill and override all registers with the hash code you can simply disable this from your Attendance screen, just go to Students > Attendance > Daily Attendance and click the red button Disable auto-fill of  ‘#’. 

What if I enter the marks into bubble registers and my normal registers? 

As the DfE is collecting non-statistical data this means your normal attendance dashboard won't show the correct information, don't worry about this as it only looks at statistical data, to see the correct data use your COVID Dashboard.

If you do enter marks in both the bubble register and the normal register this is fine as the COVID Dashboard looks at one mark per student, taking the most recent, relevant marks into account. This won't affect your attendance data.

I can see an error message when taking attendance? 

If you're using bubble registers, you'll see an error message in registers saying students are due to be in two places at once. You'll need to ignore these messages.

Don't worry - if the student is marked as present in your bubble register, but marked absent in their normal register, they'll be counted as present on the Covid-19 Dashboard. For more details on the hierarchy of attendance marks, take a look at this article.



General questions

Has anything changed for recording staff absence? 

You can continue to record absence the same way you did previously. We introduced some additional reasons for staff absences which include options related to Covid-19. If you haven't seen this already, do have a look at this article.

What if we will be opening later than 1st June? 

If you will be opening later than the first of June, that is fine. Just make sure you continue to with what you are doing until your first day back, you can also set your classes to not start until your first day back. Once back that is when you can look at using our auto-fill marks if you would like to. 

2 out of 2 found this helpful
I'm still stuck!



Please sign in to leave a comment.