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Class of COVID-19: Meet One Woman On A Mission To Find Hundreds Of Kids, Lost To Their Schools

an illustration depicting a virtual learning video screen where some students are absent and others are distracted
Camila Kerwin
Nearly 90,000 students have gone "missing" from Florida public schools since the pandemic began.

By the time Lilia Francois gets behind the wheel, a school has tried everything else to locate the child missing from class.

Since the start of the pandemic, nearly 800 students in Broward County Public Schools — the state’s second largest district and the sixth largest in the U.S. — have completely stopped going to school. They haven't logged on to virtual classes or shown up for in-person instruction. Thousands more have racked up chronic absences.

“That’s where we have to hit the pavement and go to the homes and knock on those doors,” said Lilia Francois, a social worker with the Broward school district.

Find the rest of the story here.

This story is part of the Florida Public Media series, "Class of COVID-19: An Education Crisis For Florida's Vulnerable Students." Find the whole project — and sign up for our limited-run newsletter — at classofcovid.org.

Verónica Zaragovia was born in Cali, Colombia, and grew up in South Florida. She’s been a lifelong WLRN listener and is proud to cover health care, as well as Surfside and Miami Beach politics for the station. Contact Verónica at vzaragovia@wlrnnews.org
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