About 36,000 LA Unified Students Missing From First Week of School

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About 8.3 percent of students enrolled in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)—the second largest school district in the United States—were absent from the first week of school, according to data released by the district.

The data shows 89 percent of students attended the first day of school on Monday, Aug. 15. That number rose slightly to 91.8 percent the following day, climbed to 92.8 percent on Wednesday, and reached its peak at 92.9 percent on Thursday before falling slightly to 91.9 percent on Friday.

This makes for an average attendance rate of 91.7 percent for the first week, meaning about 36,000 students were absent.

The first day’s attendance rate was 12 percent up from the 77 percent on the first day of the previous school year.

After nearly half of LAUSD students, or about 200,000, were found in April to be “chronically absent”—defined as having missed more than nine percent of their classes—Superintendent Alberto Carvalho implemented a strategy to reconnect students.

Alberto Carvalho, then Miami-Dade Schools superintendent, is seen during a school board meeting in Miami, Fla., on March 1, 2018. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Carvalho visited the homes of some chronically absent students over the summer and directed his senior staff members to do the same.

In April, Carvalho said he planned to launch a program in the 2022–2023 school year that would create a team of counselors tasked with preventing chronic absenteeism though he hasn’t announced when the program will start.

The district’s chronic absenteeism last year was potentially exacerbated by the more common usage of virtual learning during the pandemic and its strict COVID-19 protocols, which included a mask mandate for all students and staff, weekly testing for unvaccinated students, and 5 to 10 days of home quarantine for asymptomatic students in close contact with a confirmed coronavirus case.

This school year, the district loosens up most of these restrictions. Though students and staff must take a COVID-19 test before returning to campus, weekly asymptomatic testing is no longer required. At-home quarantines for close contacts without symptoms are not required, and masking is “strongly recommended” but not required, according to an updated guideline released by the district Aug. 2.

From The Epoch Times

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