Duval County Public Schools says most of the absent students are English language learners

Many missing students are foreign language speakers

Employees of Duval County Public Schools are starting to do home visits to track down families whose kids are still absent from schools.

The district said many of the absent students are English language learners.

Duval County Schools ESOL Director Ingrid Carias said too many bilingual families aren’t showing up to school, whether it’s in person or online.

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“It’s a little bit concerning. We’ve been trying to do our best to reach out to the families and to have the families reconnect with the schools,” said Carias.

On Thursday Action News Jax showed you how more than 6,000 students were unaccounted for a week into the new school year.

On Friday that number dropped to 5,135.

“We do have an understanding that most of the students that are not attending are the students that are bilingual,” said Carias.

On Friday, Action News Jax Lorena Inclán interviewed Carias in Spanish to help spread the word among the local Hispanic community.

Información Para Padres de Estudiantes en el Condado Duval

But Carias said it’s not just Spanish speakers who they’re concerned about.

“We have about 105 different languages in Duval County so definitely means multiple languages at this time,” said Carias.

Some parents have reached out to Action News Jax saying they’re still waiting on their district-issued laptops, so we asked Carias about that.

“With the laptops and hotspots, we want to make sure the parents are reaching out directly to the schools because the schools are the ones that have that information,” said Carias.

The district is urging parents to get in touch with your child’s school as soon as possible and ask to speak with an interpreter.

“We don’t want the kids to fall behind because the English language development is critical for kids right now,” said Carias.

Many students have already missed more than a week of instruction.

“They are learning that academic language in order for them to be successful in their classroom so it’s going to put the students actually behind probably a grading period.”

Continued absences in Duval County one week after school started back

According to state law, if a student has had at least five unexcused absences within a calendar month or 10 unexcused absences within 90 calendar days, the teacher must report it to the principal.

And if it escalates it could prompt a home visit.

“It might be a truancy visit, or truancy officer excuse me, that might visit the family if the students are under 16,” said Carias.

But to avoid all that, the district said the key is to communicate with your child’s school.