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Vermont losing track of some students during pandemic

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Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 10:46 AM EST
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COLCHESTER, Vt. (AP) - Schools across Vermont have lost track of some students during the pandemic, and are seeking to reconnect with them.

Principals report that truancy has been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic began, said Jay Nichols, head of the Vermont Principals’ Association.

The Agency of Education is trying to determine the scope of the problem and last week it sent a survey on the topic to Vermont school districts.

“For whatever reason, the students are just not doing their classwork, they’re not signing into Google meets, they’re not coming in for their in-person days, and so it’s a real problem,” Chris Young, the principal of North Country Union High School in Newport told Vermont Public Radio.

Nichols says that in addition to the challenges of virtual learning, the pandemic has also increased financial stress for some families that were already on the economic margins.

Young said getting students back into school isn’t about punitive measures.

“It is about, ‘We want you back, we need you back, we miss you when you’re not here, and what can we do to help you come back into the school environment?” Young said.

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