LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Since the outbreak of omicron, the Clark County School District has been experiencing a higher than the usual student absence rate. However, a CCSD report shows that chronic absenteeism is a major problem since the pandemic started and the district is far from reaching its goal to reduce student absences.

The presentation is part of the district’s Focus: 2024 Strategic Plan Update which is scheduled to be discussed at the school board of trustees meeting on Thursday, Feb. 10.

Chronic absenteeism is defined as students who are absent for 10% or more of their enrolled days. According to the report, chronic absenteeism in the district is at 37% for this school year. In 2020-2021, the rate was just shy of 34%. Prior to the pandemic, chronic absenteeism was at 20.7%.

In 2019, the district set a goal in its five-year strategic plan to reduce chronic absenteeism from 20.7% to 16% by 2024. Currently, it’s even further from that goal.

CCSD’s chronic absenteeism rate is significantly higher when ranked against other school districts — some larger, some smaller — for the 2020-2021 school year. (Student population is from 2019 U.S. Census numbers)

  • Clark County School District (33.9%) (326,953 students)
  • Denver Public Schools (29.8%) (92,112 students)
  • Los Angeles Unified School District (17.2%) (633,621 students)
  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools (25.5%) (357,249 students)
  • San Diego Unified School District (14.3%) (122,916 students)

The report also breaks down absenteeism by student groups. It shows the highest chronic absenteeism rate among Black students. It’s currently at 46.5% which is more than three times higher than the target goal the district set for this school year. The target was to have that rate at 14.8% for the 2021-2022 school year.

Here is a list of the absenteeism rate results:

  • District (37.1%) (CCSD had a target goal of 16.9% for 2021-2022)
  • Black/African American (46.5%)
  • American Indian/Alaska Native (45%)
  • Individualized Education Program (44.6%)
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (44.3%)
  • Hispanic/Latino (39.6%)
  • Limited English Proficient (38.7%)
  • Free and Reduced Lunch (37.1%)
  • Two or more races (35.7%)
  • White (29.8%)
  • Asian (19%)

Consistent attendance is important because students are more likely to succeed academically and graduate on time.

It’s acknowledged in the presentation that distance education was a challenge. Clark County students went on remote learning in March 2020 as coronavirus began spreading across the country and stayed online for a year before phasing in a hybrid learning plan that combined remote and in-person learning.

The presentation states there will need to be “ongoing comprehensive initiatives” to reduce the chronic absenteeism rate. There are plans to get feedback on the issue from student focus groups and to review the Truancy Prevention Outreach Program.