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Hundreds of thousands of students missing from public schools following COVID lockdowns: Report

True number could be significantly higher, analysis shows.

Published: February 9, 2023 1:56pm

Updated: February 9, 2023 2:09pm

A staggering number of young American students are unaccounted for nearly three years after government officials shut down schools in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 early in the pandemic, according to a bombshell new report. 

The Associated Press said this week that "hundreds of thousands of students around the country ... disappeared from public schools during the pandemic and didn’t resume their studies elsewhere," a number that could be considerably higher due to gaps in reporting data.

Among the more controversial pandemic mitigation measures, school closures in the United States threw millions of students into "remote" learning, confining many of them to their homes for protracted periods and turning much of U.S. education into a chaotic sramble.

An AP analysis "found an estimated 240,000 students in 21 states whose absences could not be accounted for" after school re-openings, the news wire said, claiming that the students in question "didn’t move out of state, and they didn’t sign up for private school or home-school, according to publicly available data."

The missing students include those "who may have dropped out of school or missed out on the basics of reading and school routines in kindergarten and first grade," the Associated Press said. 

The news wire said it had learned the fate of numerous children who left school amid the lockdowns and did not come back. 

"Some are still afraid of COVID-19, are homeless, or have left the country," the AP said. "Some students couldn’t study online and found jobs instead. Some slid into depression."

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