Student absence rates are on the rise


Steven Tardif

As a result of increased student absences, emptier classrooms have become more common.

Isabelle Leofanti and Lindsey Hall

As the end of semester one approaches, a surge in the number of student absences has been reported. After returning from COVID-19-affected school years, some students are concerned about the recent trends.

According to Principal Darren Echols, statistics confirm a rise in absences rates this time of year.

 “Last year we were averaging about 96 students a day out of our population of 2800,” Echols said. This year, we are averaging about 115 a day so it is a slight increase, but it has not been [just] COVID. It has been Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and influenza, but they have been small pockets, so it has not been something too significant.”

Junior Kaitlyn Hawrysz observed a similar trend in absences among her peers. 

“There have been a noticeable amount of students absent, [especially] in my core classes,” Hawrysz said.

Although COVID-19-related absences account for a part of missing students, COVID-19 cases have decreased from the beginning of the school year. According to the IPSD Cov-19 dashboard, 36 total staff and student absences were recorded during the week of 11/29-12/5. However, during the week of Sept. 7 to Sept. 12, 285 cases were reported. Despite the reduction in reported Cases, Echols confirmed that Metea still adheres to CDC protocols.

“We are following the guidelines of the CDC when it comes to [COVID-19], and the guidelines have evolved. They are not as strict as they were because a lot of people in DuPage County have been vaccinated.”

Because of increased illness rates, teachers were requested not to penalize students for excused absences. The school handbook states that students can make up for missing work based on the number of days of school they missed. 

“We have asked all our teachers once again, to be flexible with students and if a student is out because of sickness,” Echols said. “In particular, for tests and quizzes, we have asked our teachers to be extra flexible.”

With the recent illness rates increasing, Metea meets all the CDC and health requirements. 

We are doing our best to make sure that our school is safe, and that we are following all the safety and health protocols,” Echols said. “We are hoping that we do not have to ever go back to what we had.”