COLORADO, USA — Across Colorado, student enrollment remains lower than would normally be expected, a trend that began with a dramatic public school enrollment drop in 2020, when the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic disrupted normal life — especially education.
Newly released statewide enrollment data suggests that some of the tens of thousands of missing students returned, but in the youngest grades, thousands are still missing from classrooms.
Colorado Department of Education statistics distributed Wednesday for the current school year show more than 35,000 students disappeared from public school enrollment. The biggest drops were in the youngest grades.
Figures suggest that about half of the missing students haven't returned, with at least 10,000 younger students still missing from rosters, and the biggest bounce-back in older grades.
It’s still hard to figure out where the students that were “lost” went, said Academy School District 20 Chief Financial Officer Becky Allan. Parents don't always notify districts that they've decided to homeschool their children or are moving, she said, and neither preschool nor kindergarten are not required for Colorado students.
“If we went back 12 months, we were fearful of what the future was going to hold — we didn’t know if we’d ever find those students again, if they’d completely disappeared and we’d lose them forever,” said D-20 spokeswoman Allison Cortez. “To see our numbers rebound gives us a great sense of hope."
> Watch video above: How schools in Colorado are handling COVID-19
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