Home U.S 3 million kids missing from school because of COVID-19: Shaquille O'Neal and...

3 million kids missing from school because of COVID-19: Shaquille O'Neal and Rey Saldaña

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An estimated 3 million students in the United States have gone “missing” during the pandemic — not from home, but from virtual school. They are no longer attending classes and are most likely falling behind. Even after the pandemic ends, many might never go back. 

We are devastated by that number. Not just as parents and as advocates for the nation’s children, but also as two people who grew up with family struggles and the difficulties brought on by economic instability. If the pandemic had happened at an earlier time in our lives, we or someone we know could have been one of those millions of kids.

For many low-income students, inequitable learning conditions are not new — but they have been exacerbated by the pandemic. It’s no surprise, then, that these same students are experiencing learning loss and chronic absenteeism at higher rates than their peers during the COVID-19 crisis. We can’t let that continue.

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