School absences level off locally

ADDISON COUNTY — After a post-Thanksgiving break uptick in absenteeism in Addison County’s three biggest school districts, the numbers have stabilized or dropped in the district since then — even as COVID-19 cases have continued to increase around Vermont. 
School officials acknowledged that some families right after the weeklong Thanksgiving holiday had withheld students from school. 
Administrators said there could have been two reasons families made that choice: School officials had said to keep children home if families had violated state guidelines on interstate travel or mixed households over the Thanksgiving holiday, or families were worried about the increasing rate of coronavirus infections. 
But a week later those factors seem to have lessened.
On Monday, Dec. 1, 14% of Mount Abraham Unified School District students were absent, and on Dec. 2 the absentee rate was 10%, according to Mount Abe officials. 
But according to Superintendent Patrick Reen on this Tuesday, the district was “91.9% present.”
Meanwhile, according to Addison Central Superintendent Peter Burrows, that district’s numbers were virtually the same for the two weeks: 
“94.8% present last week, and in the first two days of this week 94.5 % present.”
And Addison Northwest Superintendent Sheila Soule reported basically the same thing. 
Districtwide this Monday and Tuesday, 7.6% and then 7.7% of students were absent, respectively. 
The comparable numbers for Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 1 and 2, were 8.48% and 7.5%, respectively. 

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