Malone said she expects it to take some time for some parents to become accustomed to the new procedures.
School officials said similar policies are in effect in neighboring communities, including Methuen and North Andover.
How new attendance procedures work
Teachers take attendance in homerooms at the start of the school day, then report absences to the main office.
The list of absent students is compared against messages from parents.If there are students who are absent whose parents didn’t call, an automated call from the AlertNow system goes to the home, asking the parent to call within a half-hour to confirm the absence.
If that call isn’t returned, a school employee calls the home.
If there is no answer and still no return call, someone from the attendance department makes a home visit. If no one is at home, a letter is left stating that a School Department representative visited the home. The letter asks the parent to call the school, confirm the absence, and report receipt of the letter.
If there is no response to the letter, the child’s school is notified. At that point, the attendance office takes no further action.