LAKE MARY, Fla. - Orange County officials say about 1% of all students, or nearly 3,000, are missing in action when it comes to their online classes and distance learning.
Orange County's numbers mirror those in other surrounding districts. Both Seminole and Osceola counties say about 1.5% of their students just aren't showing up for their virtual lessons.
"Right around 800 students who are almost like ghosts. We've been unable to contact them via phone, email, messages, any form of contact whatsoever," says Dr. Debra pace, Superintendent of Osceola County Public Schools. "The ones we haven't been able to contact at all worry me most about safety. Have they had to move? Are they living in different circumstances because of financial challenges? What is it that their needs are to make sure they're safe, and how can we help support them in continuing learning?"
She says they do all they can to reach out to these no-shows. At some point, they may get social workers and school resource officers involved.
"Our social workers are dying to do home visits," Dr. Pace says. "I'm just a little hesitant right now, until we get a better sense of what our COVID-19 local data is going to do as those things start to open up, but that will be the next step."
She says for anyone who has been skipping class till now, it's not too late.
"We've still got three-and-a-half weeks of school, our teachers are still ready to serve, help kids get caught up. We just need to know what the problems are that are getting in the way so we can help them."