The absenteeism rate in NYC schools has hit 40%. That is equivalent to around 375,000 students. This number is up from 26% before the pandemic. A student is considered chronically absent when they miss 10 percent or more of the academic year—at least 18 days of excused or unexcused absences. 

Young female teacher using an alcohol spray to disinfect student desks in classroom. Asian woman in face mask cleaning the tables with antiseptic sanitizer. School reopen after quarantine and lockdown. Photo: twinsterphoto / iStock

Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters told the New York Post that it’s surprising the numbers are so high because numbers are probably actually even higher. Students out of school due to Covid-19 or who are quarantined can be marked present as long as they log in for asynchronous learning or are in touch with their teacher.  

Principals have also listed heightened anxiety, depression, bullying, and restrictions of fun after-school activities as other possible reasons for the increase in absences. Also, the Department of Education changed its policy and attendance is no longer part of the requirements to be promoted to the next grade. Chancellor Banks is focusing on tackling the issue and hopes to reduce the rate to 30% by June. 

Nicole Perrino is the founder of, a hyperlocal website for Bronx families where she use her influence to celebrate the beauty that the Bronx has to offer. In addition to her role at Bronxmama,...

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