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Alarming number of students failing classes due to pandemic

In Anderson, the number of failing middle and high school students has more than tripled.

ANDERSON, Ind. — Educators are getting a clearer picture of the impact the pandemic is having on schools and their students. It's not pretty. 

In Anderson, the number of failing middle and high school students has more than tripled.

A year after the pandemic, staggering numbers of Anderson students are failing and not even showing up for class or virtual learning.

"We are not surprised. We are disappointed, but we are not surprised," said Mark Finger, the interim director of instruction for Anderson Community Schools.

Finger said it's not that students aren't learning — they just aren't showing up.

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The school district just released its Academic Achievement Report. It found grades and attendance have fallen at very grade level. The biggest drops are among older students.

According to the report, on a typical day, one-fourth of middle school students and one-third of high school students are absent.

Credit: WTHR/Rich Van Wyk
Students are struggling academically during the pandemic, but part of it is because they just aren't showing up to class.

More than 1 in 4 middle and high school students are failing every class. The numbers confirmed what teachers have been telling administrators.

"Our kids were not reporting online. They were not completing assignments. They had too much freedom," Finger said. "They were not following through on what they were asked to do."

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A district-wide effort to help students catch up and make up missed work is underway.

Anderson schools are already providing students two hours of after-school tutoring twice a week. Administrators said 1,000 have signed up for summer school, but they expect that number to grow.

"It is a very difficult task," said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Eric Davis. He called it a 100 percent effort.

"We are all dedicated to this undertaking and we will do everything that is humanly possible to make sure students  are successful," Davis said.

It may take a year or more for students to successfully recover from what they didn't learn during the pandemic.

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