Orange County Public Schools still cannot reach more than 2,900 students


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Updated May 4 | Seminole County Schools responded that a total of 1.45 percent of students are still unreached, with a breakdown by school level below.

Friday may be National School Principals' Day, but many Orange and Seminole county principals are busy trying to locate students who went missing in mid-March, when the coronavirus campus closures began.

That's because Orange County Public Schools says they're still attempting to contact 1.4 percent of their 212,000 students – or 2,968 students still unaccounted for. Seminole says their figure is 979 students, or 1.45 percent.

"We still know we have a few children who are missing in action," said OCPS Superintendent Barbara Jenkins in a press conference on Monday. She put out a public plea for help, asking anyone who has not already made contact with their teachers to do so immediately.

The latest percentage of Orange County's unreached students was received by Orlando Weekly on Friday. Seminole sent theirs the following Monday, to include calls that were being made to missing students on April 24.

"Once a teacher has exhausted all of their attempts to communicate with a student or family, it is then escalated to school administration to continue attempting to make contact," wrote OCPS media relations manager Michael Ollendorff.

Schools largely succeeded in their scramble to accommodate the massive shift to online learning and other activities, including organizing virtual graduations. For many students, however, lacking access to a desktop computer or laptop means losing time and falling even further behind. Others are out of contact while parents attempt to reconnect a phone line or internet service.

Seminole County Schools responded May 4 to our request for information, breaking down by grade level which of their 67,620 total students were still unaccounted. On April 24, there were 153 missing K-12 students, 349 elementary students, 213 middle school students and 400 high school students. Alternative school were unable to reach 17 students.
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