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Ripon maintains 96% attendance during distance learning
Emilio Villalobos and Darnay Mack look over the schedule of Steve Crescini (center) prior to the start of Ripon High Schools link crew event Monday morning. The 2012/13 school year begins today. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

Despite the shutdown of schools in March forcing the switch to distance learning, Ripon Unified still maintained a 96.35 percent annual attendance rate for the past school year.

"We usually see a slight dip in attendance during the winter but recoup (those losses) by the spring," said Director of Student Services Liza Mazza at Monday's Ripon Unified school board meeting.

But the sudden closure of the classrooms due to the novel COVID-19 pandemic slightly hampered those numbers, considering that RUSD was at 97.1 percent attendance rate for the entire school year for 2018-2019, she said in her report.

Her data for the annual attendance and suspensions report was reflective of the School Accountability Report Card by the State Department of Education, which provides annual information to the community, allowing public comparison of schools for student achievement, environment, resources and demographics.

Ripon High, which had a 98.38 percent attendance rate, reported 247 truancies. Those numbers were cut down considerably upon the second letter (162) and third letter (75), Mazza noted.

"It took a lot of hard work," she said, pointing out that the option of Saturday School for students helped reinvigorate the attendance rate.

The overall attendance for RUSD -- this included Ripona, Colony Oak, Weston, Park View, and Ripon elementary school sites along with RHS and Harvest High -- was 3,317 for the past school year.

Most of the disciplinary actions were handled at the school sites.

"We're keeping kids in school, working with them onsite instead of sending them home," Mazza said.