COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - According to new data from the South Carolina Department of Education, as of Thursday morning, there are 8,263 students who have had minimal or no contact with their schools since March 16.
That is roughly about 1.1% of the student population the Palmetto State. Schools were closed in mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state Department of Education released data on June 30 showing 16,085 children were unaccounted for, according to the school principals they surveyed.
Over the last few weeks, the state, school districts, Department of Social Services, and community partners have worked to connect with these students and families. So far, they’ve been in touch with about half of those kids.
According to the Department of Education, they’ve discovered in many cases, students had moved or a personal circumstance such as student work, family health, at-home internet connectivity, or a language barrier contributed to students and their families not responding to school attempts to contact them. Some schools noted that district grading policies and a view of COVID-19 school closures as time off contributed significantly to their inability to contact students and receive assigned school work, the department said.
During the governor’s press conference Wednesday morning, Senator Katrina Shealy (R-Lexington) said she would like to see students back in schools because of this problem.
“That’s not a number,” she said. “Those are children. Those are your children, my grandchildren, your nieces and nephews, and neighbors across the street.”
The governor said he supports five-day in-person instruction to make sure these children are accounted for.
The state Department of Education said they will continue to update figures as summer and fall instruction progress.
You can see a breakdown of the data by county below.