Michigan lost 61,940 K-12 students last fall, more than the state previously estimated. That figure underscores the toll the past year has taken on students and adds urgency to early efforts to provide students with extra academic and emotional support.

Michigan’s public school enrollment decline is among the best barometers of the pandemic’s impact on students. Behind the numbers are students who may have abruptly moved to a new school, or whose education simply came to a halt.

“Where are the kids that are MIA?” asked Paul Liabenow, director of the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association. “We need to seek them out. … We need to find a way to provide the support to families so the students can come to school.”

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