RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — Nearly ten percent of Richmond Public Schools students are ‘no shows’ for the 2021-2022 school year, as district administration grapples with how to find students who have evaded courses.
2,395 RPS students have reportedly not shown up to class at all this school year in a district of 24,000, according to RPS’ District Chief Engagement Officer Shade Thomas Harris.
The problem could potentially mean some people are actively breaking the law.
359 of ‘no shows’ are virtual learners, as Harris acknowledged in front of the district school board Monday night.
“All of our virtual no-shows, all 359 families, have been contacted by, or made an outreach attempt to all of those families,” she said, adding that some have received the technology the need for class.
But for the remaining students who have opted to learn in-person but have not shown, Harris did not say how many of them had been contacted by the district.
However, Harris said more analysis of attendance is needed to find a more concrete number on ‘no shows,’ but she made one admission that could potentially mean there could be even more students not showing up for class.
“If you’re present for just one day, then you won’t be listed as a no-show. So we need to know is that student really a no-show? Was that an attendance that wasn’t taken that day?”
Superintendent Jason Kamras said there is no way to keep a child home without homeschooling and still be enrolled in RPS.
Virginia law clearly defines attendance rules. Parents or guardians must send children to public or a private school or be taught by a state-qualified teacher.
And for homeschooling, guardians must tell district superintendents if, and how their students will learn at home—but no later than August 15.
“If you keep your child at home, and are not officially enrolled in home school, you are officially choosing for your child to not progress that year,” Kamras said.
In-person learning began Sept. 8 for RPS students, while virtual learning started August 24 for grades 6-12.
Therefore, some virtual students have missed more days than their in-person counterparts, and are possibly at higher risk of enrollment issues.