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COVID-19 causes school student sickies to surge

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Public school attendance has plunged across WA as the COVID pandemic continues to impact kids’ education, new figures have revealed.

According to the Education Department’s annual report, released on Wednesday, the proportion of kids who made it to the classroom often enough to be counted in the regular attendance category dropped to 63.3 last year, down from 70.2 per cent in 2020.

At the same time, the categories for three different levels of educational risk for non-attendance expanded by thousands of children.

Students considered as being at severe risk because they attended less than 60 per cent of the time surged from 4.6 to 5.2 per cent.

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Aboriginal students were five times as likely to be at severe risk, with 27.3 per cent — or more than 7000 children — falling into that category.

The dire figures have prompted a department crackdown on students skipping school.

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