October 19, 2021

Absenteeism surging since schools reopened

Some districts are reporting soaring rates of absenteeism due to stay-at-home quarantines, fear of Covid and general disengagement from school. Even districts like Elk Grove and Long Beach that had relatively high attendance before Covid have seen big increases in chronic absenteeism — students who have missed more than 10% of school days.

The CDE has not yet released statewide attendance data for the 2021-22 school year, but some school districts reported their attendance rates to EdSource. Stockton Unified said that 39% of its students have been chronically absent, more than double the rate two years ago. The district’s truancy outreach workers are visiting up to 60 homes a day, offering incentives like prizes and backpacks, to encourage students to come to school.

Oakland Unified reported that almost 33% of students were chronically absent as of mid-September. Among transitional kindergartners to fifth graders, the rate was higher than 37%. Two years ago, only 14% in that age group were chronically absent.

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