TOPEKA (KSNT) – New findings by the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) revealed one in four Kansas students is chronically absent from school.

According to KSDE, the number of students who are “chronically absent” from school significantly jumped from 13% in 2018, to 25.7% in 2022.

Students are considered “chronically absent” when they miss more than 10% of school days during the year, both excused and unexcused. Leaders with KDSE say the average school year in the state totals a little over 170 days.

KDSE Commissioner of Education Randy Watson says while the trend is alarming, they are ‘optimistically hopeful’ attendance will increase.

“It’s covid related,” Watson said. “It’s coming out of covid and really some behavior students got used to, [including] not going to school or going remote, and not having a routine,” he said.  “They were used to it, now we are trying to establish better patterns.”

Watson added the rate of chronic absenteeism prior to the year 2018 was more consistent.