More than 1 out of 4 Wake County traditional-calendar students missed Monday’s makeup day, with some families starting their originally scheduled spring break instead.
School officials said that attendance levels varied by school level, but that overall a little less than 75 percent of Wake’s 100,000 traditional-calendar students were in class Monday. Attendance was approaching 80 percent in elementary school, a little more than three-quarters in middle school and about two-thirds in high school, according to Tim Simmons, a Wake schools spokesman.
Simmons said attendance figures aren’t expected to change much on makeup days Tuesday and Wednesday.
This week’s lower attendance is in contrast to the 95 percent of students that attend on a normal school day.
But Simmons said students are benefiting more from the learning they’re receiving this week than they would have if Wake had instead opted to make up some of February’s snow days by extending the end of the school year.
“From the beginning, we made it clear that we were trying to make the best of some bad options,” he said. “There weren’t any good options.”
On the staff side, Simmons said about 15 percent of Wake’s 10,000 teachers are also out this week. School administrators from the district’s central office have been substitute-teaching, Simmons said, to show their support for the schools.
Wake may have contributed to the absentee rate by telling schools to provide “maximum flexibility” to students and staff who said they couldn’t cancel their plans this week. For instance, Wake isn’t counting this week’s absences against high school seniors when determining which final exams they may be allowed to skip.
For the second day in a row, schools tweeted Tuesday about how much learning was taking place.
But high school students continued to tweet about classes that were nearly empty.
“There are 7 people in my class @WCPSS...Good to see we are being productive in making up those days we missed...” tweeted Fletcher Stone, a student at Panther Creek High School in Cary.
Hui: 919-829-4534; Twitter: @nckhui