Roanoke County school leaders addressing chronic absenteeism

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – Students missing school constantly is a problem in the Commonwealth.

School districts are working to resolve the problem through Governor Youngkin’s “ALL IN” initiative.

All across Virginia, the number of students missing school regularly has gone up — especially since the pandemic.

As COVID hit all of sudden chronic absenteeism has gone up dramatically,” Roanoke County School leaders said.

According to the Virginia Department of Education, 27% of students in Roanoke City were chronically absent during the 2022-2023 school year while Danville and Lynchburg schools had roughly 25% of students absent; Montgomery County 18.5% and Roanoke County had roughly 15%.

“I’ll be honest with you, it’s probably issue number one, at this point,” Roanoke County school leaders said.

Roanoke County School Board leaders held a workshop and learned they are seeing an uptick — with students missing 18 learning days in a year.

Part of the reason they say is the idea of staying home when sick, especially during the pandemic.

To address the issue, Roanoke County School Leaders say they plan to send notices home about the attendance policy.

They say some school staff will reach out to students who are absent — who do not have a doctor’s note and plan have some interventions with judges and the department of social services before absences get worse.

“We have department of social services at the table, behavioral health at the table, the judges are on there with us, and school support staff, so the idea is wrap up services prior to taking it to court, than waiting to get to court to get the services we are going to structure a program to run those meetings,” Dr. Rhonda Stegall, the Assistant Superintendent of Administration said.

About the Author:

Duke Carter returned to 10 News in January 2022.