Are schools losing students? How districts are keeping track amid distance learning

Phone calls, door knocking, looking up addresses, just some of the ways districts search for students amid distance learning.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Educators are dealing with a new issue amid distance learning. What happens when students don't sign in to class?

Phone calls, door knocking, looking up addresses, just some of the ways districts search for students amid distance learning.

"We've got a lot of students that don't log in for a variety of reasons, some by choice and some by circumstance," said Ambra O'Connor, executive director of the Department of Intervention and Prevention at Fresno Unified.

This school year Fresno Unified's had over 600 "no show" students, so far roughly 350 have been located.

"It starts with a phone call home, which leads to a home visit, someone from my office going out to see what's really going on," added O'Connor.

The issue is usually greatest at the start of the semester when many students struggle with internet and WiFi, but for some, it's a year-round problem.

"If students are enrolled and they don't come to class in the first 2 weeks the school refers them to our office," said O'Connor. "Then we have welfare and attendance staff that knock on their door, call emergency contacts."

Sometimes a student has moved, changed districts, or switched to a charter school.

Madera Unified has a similar process.

"We still have kids who are not engaged," said Director of Student Services, Alyson Crafton. "We've done everything we can, including over 2,000 home visits."

They say often it's internet issues, but just to be sure school staff will visit in-person to check-in. Now that WiFi and hotspots are distributed the number of kids failing to log in is less.

"It's very minimal, it's less than 1% that we just don't know what happened," said Crafton. "We do have a couple of families, that no matter what efforts we put out we have no success in engaging."
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