Seminole County schools look to combat high truancy rates

, Fla. — The Seminole school district said they have seen an alarming increase in the number of students not showing up for classes.

At Seminole High School, principal Jordan Rodriguez said since students returned to in-person learning there has been a dramatic increase in student absences.

>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<

“We’ve got, you know, over 4000 kids 26% are missing 10 or more days that were unexcused,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said school administrators are trying everything from phone calls to emails and even talking with friends to get students who are chronically absent to come to school.

Read: Students share growing concerns over classroom censorship with Congress

During the 2018-19 school year, the truancy rate for all Seminole County high schools combined was 15%.

For the 2021-22 school year, that figure is 22%.

Read: Boeing set to launch Starliner from Space Coast

School leaders say there doesn’t seem to be one specific reason causing the increase in absences but rather a combination of factors—things like the lack of distance learning options as well as students feeling like they can still be productive at home.

“They think I’ll just check my teacher’s webpage, see what the assignments are, and try to submit them,” Rodriguez said.

Read: Sanford Civic Center named to city’s list of historic landmarks

He said some teachers will try to be flexible and allow students to make up for missed classes.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

Jeff Levkulich

Jeff Levkulich, WFTV.com

Jeff Levkulich joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in June 2015.

Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.