Covid and its impact on students missing school

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According to a new report by the Helios Education Foundation (a foundation that provides scholarships and support for post-secondary education opportunities for underserved communities), students in Arizona are losing time in school due to COVID.

According to the report– the chronic absence rate spiked in 2021 compared to pre-pandemic school years. Nearly one in five students missed more than 10 percent (18 days) of the school year. Increases in absenteeism were the steepest for students who are economically disadvantaged, English learners, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Black/African American, and Hispanic/Latino. Joining us to talk about this impact on students is Paul Luna, President and CEO of Helios Foundation.

“We’re seeing chronic absenteeism as being one of those issues that I think has really become more concerning to many of us, and there’s more that we should do,” said Luna.

According to Luna, chronic absenteeism was an issue before the pandemic as well. However, there was a spike in 2021 that is continuing. Luna says this is, in part, due to the societal change in remote options after the pandemic.

“It is a result of the challenges we have all faced through the pandemic, you see a work force environment that’s very different now than it used to be,” said Luna. “You start to see that as well, students found themselves out of the class room during the pandemic.”

Chronic absenteeism is defined as a student missing 18 days of school in one school year, as Luna points out.

Paul Luna, President and CEO of Helios Foundation

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