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Education chief says absences up in some school districts

Kentucky Department of Education
Kentucky Education Commissioner Jason Glass

State education officials are getting reports of higher than usual student absences early this school year. Education Commissioner Jason Glass said COVID appears to be a significant factor in some school districts. But, he noted with the endemic nature of the disease now, going back to mandatory masking is not an answer.

“We don’t want to create a situation where a school is kind of the only place that we have all these mitigation procedures in place, but when a kid goes out on the playground, or they go to the mall, or they go to the movies, none of that is happening,” said Glass.

Glass said the typical daily attendance for any one school district is about 95%. He noted some districts are reporting 80 to 85%, and even as low as 70%. Glass added COVID activity varies from district to district.

“It’s depending on how COVID is moving in their community. What the spread of that looks like as viruses are transmitted and we may see waves of this continue going forward,” said Glass.

The education commissioner said the state education department doesn’t track day to day attendance in real time. It is reported later to Frankfort to determine funding levels.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 30 years.
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