Whether it’s because of logistics with their parents or apathy all around, students are missing more and more time in class as the pandemic wears on.
According to research tracking daily attendance, teachers saw a 2.3% decline from September to November compared with the same period a year earlier.
The numbers, appearing in a Wall Street Journal report, were produced by a grade- and data-tracking outlet called PowerSchool.
And the decline in attendance isn’t reserved solely for online/virtual learning.
Those students enrolled via in-person learning have stayed away in larger numbers, too, though the majority of the decline comes from homebound students.
The Journal reports that data includes 2,700 districts with more than 2.5 million students enrolled, and that in many cases students of color, special needs and elementary school students learning remotely were especially affected.
And that’s cause for continuing concern about the success gaps between poor students and others.
A key question accompanies these disturbing numbers: Is reopening safe for all?
The predictable partisan political divide coupled with strife in several cities involving civic leaders and teachers’ unions is complicating matters concerning reopening.
On Wednesday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said it was possible for schools to reopen safely even if teachers had not yet had a chance to be vaccinated.
“Vaccination of teachers is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools,” she said at a COVID Response Team press briefing.
Asked if Walensky’s answer aligned with President Joe Biden’s plans, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was still waiting for official guidelines for school reopenings from the CDC. “And so we’d certainly defer to that, which we hope to see soon,” she said.