States around the country are reporting a significant decline in the number of students enrolled in public school because of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving experts and educators concerned about the trend, and its potential long-term consequences.
A notable number of students seem to have simply fallen off the grid, not showing up for online or in-person instruction, their whereabouts unknown by school officials.
Given the chaos caused by the pandemic, and the lack of data, it is difficult to truly determine the exact magnitude of the problem, which seems to be disproportionately affecting already vulnerable student populations – among them homeless students, children with disabilities, children of immigrants, children in foster care and children of color.
A recent study by Bellwether Education Partners, a non-profit that focuses on underserved communities, estimates that approximately 3 million of the “most educationally marginalized students in the country” may have been missing from school since March 2020, when the pandemic forced school closures. The group said it arrived at the number by calculating a “likely percentage of at-risk groups not in school, based on media reports and available data.”
ABC News contacted officials from the departments of education in all 50 states, and found that the problem appears to be nationwide.
Although some states reported that they do not track such information, many others said that they have seen a significant decline in their enrollment numbers, and still others have reported they have thousands of missing students.
Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled
Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).
Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:
which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.
While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state.
The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.
The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.
“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”
Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.
All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.
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“An emphasis on adult employment”
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