Attending school regularly is essential to students gaining the academic and social skills they need to thrive. Chronic absence - defined as missing 10% of the academic year - has more than doubled since thestart of the pandemic, from 8 million to an estimated 16 million students nationwide, and absenteeism isespecially high among students and families most adversely impacted by the pandemic. Chronic absence, no matter its cause, has real life consequences for students, families, and society as a whole. Research shows that starting as early as preschool and kindergarten, chronic absence can leave third graders unable to read proficiently, sixth graders struggling with coursework, and high school students off track for graduation.

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