Turlock Unified School District released data on attendance rates for students this school year that shows a significant drop, mainly due to the pandemic.
The number of students deemed as having satisfactory attendance decreased by more than 30 percent compared to last year.
The district breaks up attendance into three categories: Satisfactory attendance (> 94 percent), at risk (90-94 percent) and chronically absent (< 90 percent). Out of the 13,616 students enrolled in TUSD 40.4 percent had satisfactory attendance, 25.6 were at risk and 34 percent were chronically absent.
“Due to the unique circumstances created by the pandemic, students may have been absent for extended periods during illness as well as quarantine,” said TUSD communications coordinator Marie Russell. “With the opportunity to provide independent study to students from the first day of any absence, students have had continued access to learning while at home.”
In the 2020-21 school year 71.1 percent had satisfactory attendance, 14.2 were at risk and 14.7 were chronically absent out of 13,614 students. Finally, out of the 13,876 students enrolled in the 2019-2020 school year, 62.1 percent had satisfactory attendance, 26.1 were at risk and 11.9 were chronically absent.
As a result of the statewide school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Department of Education determined that the absenteeism data was not valid and reliable for the 2019-2020 school year.
The district has a team of administrators, staff and community members providing assistance to students and families to maintain satisfactory attendance.
“To further support students, site and district teams which include teachers, nurses, counselors, community liaisons, student welfare and attendance specialists and administrators, work collaboratively with families to ensure students are attending school,” said Russell.
Also, with Turlock being home to a significant refugee population, the district works with the community to make sure those students are able to enroll and attend classes regularly.
“TUSD has worked with community agencies to support the specific needs of refugee families by coordinating enrollment procedures, providing school supplies and communicating regularly with families regarding school programs and services,” said Russell.