EDUCATION + SCHOOLS

Is chronic absenteeism in students as bad as we think it is?

Apr 26, 2024, 7:00 PM

FILE - The Utah State Board of Education is pictured in Salt Lake City. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret New...

FILE - The Utah State Board of Education is pictured in Salt Lake City. Chronic absenteeism in students has been a rising issue in schools, but is it as bad as we've heard it is? (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Chronic absenteeism has been an issue and schools around the state are trying to tackle it.

Earlier this year, the Utah State Board of Education said that chronic absenteeism in students has gone up. Granite School District’s Ben Horsley said he’s seen an increase across the board.

Utah lawmakers even proposed a bill on the matter to better involve parents in the process.

However, Robyn Jordan, a sophomore teacher at Bountiful High, said she hasn’t seen that issue within her class. 

“It’s not necessarily like a day-to-day thing,” she said. “I feel like where it gets hard … is when you have a whole week of spring break, you’ll get a bunch of kids that are like ‘Oh, well we’re going to leave the week before.'”

Jordan saw some students missing an extra day or two after some holidays, but she hasn’t seen any consistent or patterned behavior of chronic absenteeism.

Jordan teaches honors classes. She wonders if this influences the behavior of her students, since they are focused on better grades for their futures in college.

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Is chronic absenteeism in students as bad as we think it is?