More children have been absent from school this academic year than a year earlier, with attendance declining as the pandemic wears on, new research and data show.
Students attending school in person as well as those learning remotely are struggling with poor attendance, though it is worse among the millions of homebound students who are still learning primarily through a screen.
Districts showed a 2.3% decline in average daily attendance nationally from September to November of last year, compared with the same period in 2019, according to data from PowerSchool, a company that helps schools track grades and attendance. Attendance fell in 75% of the districts as the year wore on, dropping by 1.5% on average each month, data show. The data covers 2,700 districts that include more than 2.5 million students learning in person and online.
Limited data from some states and districts shows that students learning remotely—especially students of color, special needs and elementary school students—were attending school less often compared with their in-school classmates.
The data deepens concerns that the lengthy school closures will widen the pre-pandemic academic achievement gaps between poor students and others.