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Abbotsford school district trying to track down ‘missing’ students

Senior staff says 150-200 students left public school system throughout COVID pandemic
A empty teacher’s desk is seen at the front of a empty classroom at McGee Secondary school in Vancouver on September 5, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

Anywhere from 150 to 200 students are “missing” from the Abbotsford public education system.

Senior staff revealed that number while discussing how COVID-19 concerns have affected student attendance over the last two years.

“There are kids that are missing,” said Superintendent Kevin Godden. “We have lost some kids along the way.”

Staff are investigating the dramatic drop in student numbers, which they attribute to students who just didn’t return when school returned to normal. There were about 500 students in Abbotsford who participated in the blended learning model offered by the district. When that ended, and students returned to full-time, in-class learning, not all came back.

The school district has had about 19,000 students in its programs annually.

They are working on finding out which kids have chosen different learning options (private schools, homeschooling or different school districts), and which have dropped out of learning entirely. They assume some families have decided the risk of contracting COVID-19 is still a concern for them, making homeschooling more appealing.

It’s the kids who have turned away from completing their education that they are concerned about.

“It will take some sleuthing to figure this out,” Godden said.

They know that the ages of the students run the gamut of ages and grades, and that this phenomenon is being seen across B.C. and Canada.

The board of education encouraged staff to continue tracking down these “lost” students, to ensure they haven’t dropped out.

“That’s a lot of kids,” Trustee Korky Neufeld said.

READ MORE: K-12 students head back to school in B.C. amid new COVID notification system


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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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