Where Did Everyone Go? : Source Of Mysterious Absences


Image by Brandon Beetz-Gonzalez

Freshman Jackson Barrett works alone as his table and surrounding table are mostly empty due to absences.

On January 3rd, 2022, at Mt. SAC Early College Academy, there were more reported absences than in the first 3 months of school. In total, there were about 60 absences. In comparison, there are 300 students currently enrolled at Mt. SAC Early College Academy.

This brings up the question, why were so many students missing on this single day? Was it Senior Ditch Day? No, the answer is much simpler than that.

“We had misplanned our time, my dad’s timeshare, for a hotel in Mexico. By the time that we had already left, school was already being put back into action,” stated sophomore John Paul Scheel, who goes by JP.

Traveling during winter break can come with complications, including the mismanagement of travel time and the potential risk of getting Covid-19. This could explain some of the absences.

“I came back, and in my first few days of school I got sick, and I caught Covid. For the next week and a half, I was out of commission,” explained JP Scheel.

Covid-19 cases rose sharply during December and January, leading to 1,018,935 new cases in the United States on January 3rd alone, according to The New York Times. The new cases were also exacerbated by gatherings for Christmas and New Years’ Eve.

Graph of Covid-19 cases throughout the years, provided by statista and Our World In Data.

“On New Year’s Eve, that’s when we all got Covid. My brother brought it home when he went to a party,” says sophomore Gunnar Espalin.

Our school seems to be an example of the potential risks of attending mass gatherings during Covid-19 surges and seems to be the most common reason for absences returning from the holidays.