POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - The Broward County School District is on a mission after, they said, thousands of students have not reported to class.
They are now doing a classroom roll call.
Volunteers at the Broward Teachers Union packed bags with resources for students who haven’t returned to school or are chronically absent.
“Since the pandemic, a number of students were expected to return to Broward County Public Schools but did not, and we did not have a corresponding withdrawal code for them, so they might have gone to a private school or moved out of the county but never notified the school district,” said BCPS Director of School Counseling Ralph Aiello.
According to educators, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the family dynamic for many households.
About 6,000 students in Broward County are unaccounted for while approximately 5,000 others have excessive absences.
The school district wants to know why.
“We’ve even partnered with a private company that’s been doing a phone canvassing campaign. We’ve made over 11,000 phone calls. We’ve been successful at around 27% of those calls,” said Aiello. “We’re finding that most of the families have chosen another educational program. They just never notified the district that they were going to be leaving.”
Over the weekend, more than 400 volunteers will be visiting around 6,000 households across the county.
“They’re in here helping, getting bags packed for our volunteers that are coming Saturday and Sunday to help canvas throughout the county for our students that haven’t been able to reconnect or haven’t come back into school,” said Broward Teachers Union President Anna Fusco.
Getting the effort organized took a lot of manpower.
Volunteers from the American Federation of Teachers flew in from across the U.S. to help out.
For the educators, the cause is worth it.
“Children that are ages 6 to 16, there’s a state statute out there that you must be enrolled in an educational institution,” said Fusco. “The best place to be is in school, on a school campus, in with your fellow classmates, in with your teachers and all the support staff so you can have a well-rounded education.”
The kick-off for this weekend’s re-engagement blitz will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at Broward Teachers Union.
The union said they are hoping parents will pick up the phone and call the district to let them know where their student is.
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