At One Roanoke Elementary School, 2 in 5 Students Were 'Chronically Absent' Last Year, Data Show

Effects from the pandemic contributed to more than 3,500 students missing weeks of instruction, data show.

School officials have distributed alarm clocks to families, given rides to students and clothed children who come to school in pajamas, in efforts to get students in school. PHOTO BY HENRI GENDREAU FOR THE ROANOKE RAMBLER

Lingering effects from the pandemic contributed to more than 3,500 students being chronically absent from Roanoke City Public Schools last year.

Just over one in four students, 27 percent, were chronically absent in Roanoke, according to recently released state data for the 2021-2022 school year. Hurt Park Elementary School had the division’s highest rate, with nearly two in every five students (39 percent) missing class for a prolonged period.

The state considers students “chronically absent” when they miss at least 10 percent of the school year, which translates roughly to three-and-a-half weeks, for any reason. The statewide average absentee rate was 20 percent.