BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) — Multiple schools in the Rio Grande Valley saw their average daily attendance rates drop in the 2019-2020 school year, according to the Texas Education Agency (TEA), but schools in Brownsville Independent School District (BISD) saw lower numbers of enrollment and average daily attendance.
“I can’t put my hand through a computer screen to get you to work…that’s just impossible to do,” said Armando Sanchez, the chair of the English department at Lopez Early College High School.
According to data from BISD and the TEA, the 2018-2019 school year had about 44 thousand students with an average daily attendance of around 40 thousand.
But in the 2019-2020 school year, enrollment declined to about 43 thousand students but daily attendance dropped to 36 thousand.
This school year’s enrollment has dropped to 40,791, over two thousand less than the previous year.
“Day-to-day attendance absolutely it has changed,” said Dahlia Aguilar, principal of Lopez Early College High School.
The high school attendance rate for the 2020-2021 school year is as follows:
Lopez has the lowest rates and is down about two percent from years prior. Aguilar says that it affects the school’s resources.
“We are really concerned what it is going to do to our budget,” said Aguilar.
Aguilar says the pandemic put students in positions that forced them to take care of younger siblings, some lost their homes, and some live in Mexico and could not connect to the internet.
“We have a lot of students that are working and they’re working sometimes the whole day or half a day, so sometimes they don’t log on,” said Aguilar.
BISD has started a campaign that will encourage students to come back to the class room.
So far, Lopez has 616 in-person students out of about two thousand, and some teachers say they believe in-person will help with attendance.
“I really think it’s going to benefit—we can actually target those students in person rather than trying to target them through a computer screen,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez says that students have expressed another factor that has kept them from participating in their mental health.
“Mental health awareness has been one of the big proponents for the last 12-13 months of this pandemic,” said Sanchez.