For reference - COVID-19 Guidance from March to August 2020

The DfE has now released further guidance for schools to help manage opening fully from September. Based on the guidance from the DfE, we've outlined practices for schools in this article: COVID-19: Guidance for full school opening from September

This article outlines the guidance from Arbor for taking attendance and managing your Arbor MIS for the period of March to August 2020, to be used for your reference.

From March - May

Taking attendance

  • Schools needed to stop taking normal attendance registers and submit a daily form to the DfE.
  • We advised schools to mark all attendance registers with the # code, and to not amend their academic calendar.
  • We introduced a new 'auto-fill attendance marks' functionality that, once switched on, automatically set all attendance marks to '#' each night until this setting was turned off. This overwrote any existing attendance marks, planned absences and absence notes, but did not change club or trip attendance marks.
  • Schools could fill in past registers with the # code using our bulk functionality on the Students > Attendance > Daily Attendance page.


  • Until Friday 20th March, schools who were closed to certain students could mark students with the Y code. Schools could report on these marks using the Students > Attendance > Admin > Raw Attendance Marks page or in a custom report.
  • We created some out-of-the-box custom groups that then feed into one central custom report that Superusers could view in the Custom Report Writer:
      • EHCP Students - All students with a 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.
  • You could use our Free School Meal Students' Primary Guardian information for Supermarket Vouchers template in the Custom Report Writer to help arrange supermarket vouchers for the parents/guardians of free school meal eligible students. 

Student, staff and guardian details

  • Schools could record new medical condition for students or staff of Corona Virus - COVID-19 (confirmed) or (symptoms), and create a custom report of all the students with these medical conditions.
  • Schools could set guardians as key workers in order to flag that the child was a key worker child. This still applies, see here.
  • Schools were advised that if they wanted to record details of students from other institutions, they should manage these students outside of Arbor. If they needed to record details, they could add the student as an applicant but not enrol them.

From June - August

Managing opening

  • Schools could begin to open to certain year groups from June 1st for Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 and from 15th June for Year 10, Year 12 and post-16.
  • Schools needed to continue to complete the DfE's daily form but could use our new Covid-19 Dashboard to do so and to follow up with absent students.
  • Schools needed to set up two custom groups, for students with a social worker and for vulnerable students, to be able to select and report on these students in the Covid-19 Dashboard.
  • Schools needed to switch over to our new attatence auto-fill functionality, which once switched on, automatically set all attendance marks to the selected code each night until this setting was turned off. The options were Closed (overwrote all with the # code), Partially Open (filled in blank marks with the X code), and Manual (no automation).
  • Schools were advised to not remove any existing classes or registration forms set up, but to create new bubble classes as needed.
  • Schools with KS3 or higher could select specific classes to display on the Covid-19 Dashboard to easily follow up with.

Taking attendance

  • Schools were advised that teachers should access their registers (or new bubble class registers) in the normal way (ignoring any messages saying students are due to be out of lesson).
  • For any year groups that were not required to attend, schools could use the auto-fill option, or mark them with the X code
  • For any students in a year group due to attend who was absent for covid-related reasons, schools could use these codes:
      • C19 (I- Illness with Covid symptoms) 
      • Sh - (Y - Shielding due to Covid-19 
      • Iso - (Y -Self-isolating due to Covid-19)
      • C - A student is not sick and is due to come to school, but their parent/guardian decides for them not to attend
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