COLCHESTER, Vt. (AP) — Schools across Vermont have lost track of some students during the pandemic, and are seeking to reconnect with them.

Principals report that truancy has been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic began, said Jay Nichols, head of the Vermont Principals Association.

The Agency of Education is trying to determine the scope of the problem and last week it sent a survey on the topic to Vermont school districts.

“For whatever reason, the students are just not doing their classwork, they’re not signing into Google meets, they’re not coming in for their in-person days, and so it’s a real problem,” Chris Young, the principal of North Country Union High School in Newport told Vermont Public Radio.

Nichols says that in addition to the challenges of virtual learning, the pandemic has also increased financial stress for some families that were already on the economic margins.

Young said getting students back into school isn’t about punitive measures.

“It is about, ’We want you back, we need you back, we miss you when you’re not here, and what can we do to help you come back into the school environment?” Young said.

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NUMBERS

The Vermont Department of Health reported more than 100 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to just over 14,600.

There were 37 people hospitalized with COVID-19, including 13 in intensive care.

There have been 198 COVID-19 fatalities in Vermont since the pandemic began.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 133.57 new cases per day on Feb. 7 to 116.57 new cases per day on Feb. 21.

The latest average positivity rate in Vermont is 1.48%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Vermont the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 1.67% on Feb. 7 to 1.48% on Feb. 21.

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