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News Update

Chronic absenteeism drops at Los Angeles Unified but still above pre-pandemic level

Chronic absenteeism at Los Angeles Unified School district has dropped to 29%, down from 34% this time last year, as the district continued to push efforts to bring students back to school. But Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said the district still has a long way to go to regain its pre-pandemic levels. The district had a chronic absenteeism rate of just over 12% during the 2017-18 school year.

Average daily attendance is now at 92%, up from nearly 91% this time last year. Before the pandemic, the attendance rate was at 96%.

“It’s not enough,” Carvalho said of the current attendance rate at a news conference Friday. ”[It] still leaves out that child who may be taking care of other children in his or her home. It still leaves out that kid who may be facing food insecurity or housing insecurity.”

Officials announced the uptick in attendance as the district embarked on its second major student outreach day Friday. It is sending staff members to make home visits with 7,000 students with spotty attendance across the district as part of its recovery efforts. 

LAUSD has put emphasis on attendance this year to get students back on track following a tumultuous period during the pandemic. Home visits have been part of the district’s efforts to combat chronic absenteeism for years, but the district is ramping those up now.

On Friday, those conducting the home visits were equipped with more information about the students they visited, including previous attendance rates and performance in school. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined Carvalho at a visit in Exposition Park to the home of Graciela Gonzalez, whose 11th grade son, Ronaldino, attends Manual Arts High School but has been chronically absent.

“It’s just been excuses,” Gonzalez said in Spanish about her son’s lack of attendance. “Hopefully with this visit he understands the importance.”

District officials gave Ronaldino, who was home in his room, a ride to school after the morning visit.