By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Daily student attendance in the Los Angeles Unified School District is down slightly as the virtual school year gets underway, officials said Monday.

LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said attendance has dipped from 91.8% last year to 88.4% this year.

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Overall, enrollment during the pandemic is down at about the same level as prior years, with kindergarten taking the biggest hit.

“The biggest drops in kindergarten enrollment are generally in neighborhoods with the lowest household incomes,” Beutner said. “We suspect some of this is because families may lack the ability to provide full-time support at home for online learning, which is necessary for very young learners.”

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According to Beutner, roughly 4% of all students and their families have not made any connection with their school community since remote learning began Aug. 18.

The superintendent attributed the learning “gaps” to “some student groups which have historically been hard to serve.”

While there’s no timeline to reopen schools, Beutner said COVID-19 conditions in Los Angeles are still “far from the levels at which it would be appropriate to consider a return to school campuses.”

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Any eventual return would include COVID-19 testing for students, staff and family members who may have been exposed to the virus, as well as a mobile
application students can use to register and self-screen for symptoms, Beutner said.