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Why Are More Students Missing School in 2024?

Do you notice familiar faces missing from your homeroom? Perhaps a little longer than the usual sick leave? Whether it’s an excused or unexcused absence, there’s no denying that chronic absenteeism has affected classrooms worldwide.

In this article by Pacific Prime Latin America, we will be going over chronic absenteeism, the primary reasons for frequent school absences, and what you could do to help reduce chronic absenteeism among students.

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What is Chronic Absenteeism?

Chronic absenteeism is when a student of any grade level misses over 10% of school days in one academic year. Such absences can be either excused, such as sick leaves or accidents and family emergencies, or unexcused, such as disciplinary consequences like suspensions.

Chronic Absenteeism vs Truancy

Chronic absenteeism is not to be confused with truancy. This is because while chronic absenteeism measures overall absences, unexcused and excused, truancy measures only unexcused absences.

Aside from suspensions, other examples of unexcused absences include skipping school and violating mandatory attendance requirements. Due to its focus on unexcused absences, truancy emphasizes compliance with school rules and relies on school administrators or, in severe cases, the legal system.

The Impact of Chronic Absenteeism

Whether it’s excused or unexcused absences, missing two days of school can eventually lead to detrimental consequences. For instance, children who start taking absences since kindergarten and first grade are likely to develop a habit of taking chronic absences in subsequent grade levels.

Furthermore, children who are chronically absent since kindergarten or the first grade are less likely to read on grade level by the time they reach third grade. For older students, taking excessive absences can lead to low grades and test scores due to delayed academic catch ups.

Common Reasons for Chronic Absenteeism

Reasons for chronic absenteeism can vary, ranging from common reasons such as illnesses and accidents to more complex reasons such as the child’s personal struggles like bullying or grades. Below are some common reasons for chronic absenteeism.

Illnesses and Injuries

The most common reason for chronic absenteeism is illnesses or injuries which render the child unable to attend school normally. While unavoidable, the child and their parents should try their best to minimize the chances of illnesses and accidents as much as they can.

For parents, you can encourage exercise, healthy dietary choices, and sufficient rest for your children. To ensure the safety of your child in case of illnesses or injuries at school, parents also have the option of opting for individual health insurance.

Caring for Another Family Member

Sometimes, students aren’t able to attend school because they need to spend time helping family members such as younger siblings or grandparents with specific healthcare needs.

Since it’s a tough decision that students and their families should not be forced to make, parents can opt for family health insurance or retiree health insurance to ensure their safety and wellbeing, giving the students peace of mind so they can attend school once more.

Travel Difficulties

Not all students and their parents have reliable transportation methods to get to school and back home, rendering them unable to attend school. This is especially an issue for those who live considerably further away from the school.

Poor Grades

Academic struggles can really demotivate students, leaving them feeling as if it’s no longer worth going to school. Parents can help by introducing tutoring or letting their child attend after-school learning assistance programs to help their child with their learning difficulties.

Bullying and Lack of Sense of Belonging

It’s not just academics that can put off students from going to school, it could also be bullying. Potentially done physically or verbally, bullying can leave students feeling disconnected from the rest of their class or the school as a whole.

This is especially the case for more timid students who may not feel brave enough to talk it out with an adult like a teacher, guidance counselor, or their parents.

Ways to Decrease Chronic Absenteeism

Addressing the issue of chronic absenteeism can be a delicate process and completely eliminating the issue seems close to impossible. However, not all hope is totally lost in decreasing the number of chronic absenteeism, as there are steps schools can take to get students back on track once more.

Foster Positive Relationships Between Students and Teachers

The first step for schools to take in hopes of decreasing the number of chronic absenteeism cases is to foster positive relationships between students and teachers. Whether it’s academic struggles or bullying, students need someone they can trust for school to be a safe place.

By fostering positive relationships between students and their teachers, students will always have an adult to turn to whenever they need, making them feel safe and motivated to attend school.

Provide Support for Absent Students When They Return

Whenever a previously-absent student returns to class, teachers shouldn’t overwhelm them with all the work they had missed during their time off. This is because it can leave the student feeling embarrassed from falling behind in class.

Instead, involve the student and their parents to mutually formulate a plan for the student to slowly catch up on their missed assignments and tests. By slowly planning a catchup plan with the student and their parents, the student will be able to return to school without feeling overwhelmed.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while chronic absenteeism can lead to detrimental consequences, that doesn’t mean preventing it is outside the realm of possibility altogether. By discussing and addressing the issue with the student’s parents, teachers can help formulate a catchup plan for the students when they return.

Known as a leading international health insurance broker and employee benefits specialist, Pacific Prime not only has over 20 years of matching expats and locals to their health insurance plans of choice, but also in employee benefit solutions.

Whether you’re a school in need of corporate health insurance to ensure the safety of your employees, or if you are a parent in need of family health insurance to ensure your child’s safety at school, we are happy to help you out.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to get in touch with us.

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Content Writer at Pacific Prime Thailand
Wish Sutthatothon (Nickname: Guy) is currently a content writer at Pacific Prime Thailand, an insurance broker that connects individuals and businesses with insurance providers worldwide. He creates and edits blog articles, guides, reports, webpages, and other types of digital content.

He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts, Media & Communication major (concentration: Creative Content) from Mahidol University International College (MUIC). During the compulsory major elective period in the summer of 2021 and voluntarily during the summer of 2022, he also interned as a video and photo editor at Mbrella Films.

He has experience working as an English Content Writer at a real estate buying/renting/selling platform in Thonglor. There, he crafted company blog posts on a multitude of topics. Topics include market trends, legal issues and disputes in property businesses, financial guides, expat guides, home insurance, home decoration and maintenance, and weekly real estate news quick-recaps. Occasionally, as part of the blog-writing process, he would also translate existing Thai blogs to English.

In his free time, Guy enjoys doing scriptwriting and storytelling for comic strips, watching movies, and listening to music (particularly film scores).
Wish Sutthatothon
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