​Why School Absences Have ‘Exploded’ Almost Everywhere


Since the pandemic started and schools closed, lots of things changed in education. One big problem that’s sticking around is students not showing up for school. This is a problem all over the country, no matter if the students are rich or poor, and no matter their race.

Before the pandemic, about 15 percent of students missed a lot of school. Now, it’s up to 26 percent. That’s a big jump. Even in richer areas, where students used to miss less school, the numbers have doubled. And in poorer areas, it’s even worse. More than 30 percent of students in these areas are missing a lot of school.

It’s not just about COVID-19. Students are missing school for other reasons too. Some families are going on vacations during the school year because they think their kids can keep up with schoolwork online. In some places, students are staying home to take care of their siblings because their parents are working. And even when students are sick with something other than COVID-19, they’re still staying home.

But it’s not just about physical health. Many students are struggling with their mental health too. And this makes it hard for them to go to school. Some students are anxious and worried, and they don’t want to leave the house.

Missing school is a big problem because if you’re not in school, you can’t learn. And when lots of students are missing, it makes it hard for the ones who do show up to learn too. Teachers have to slow down and change their plans because not everyone is there.

Some schools are trying to get students to come back by making school more fun. They’ve tried things like having special dress-up days or giving away free clothes. But even with these efforts, many students are still not coming back.

It’s not just about getting kids to show up, though. Schools need to make sure students feel safe and supported when they’re there. Some schools are working with students one-on-one to help them with their feelings and behavior. This seems to be helping, but there’s still a lot of work to do.

Overall, getting students back in school and helping them succeed is a big challenge. Schools are trying different things, but it’s going to take time to figure out what works best for everyone.


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