Worcester Is Fighting School Absenteeism with Washing Machines

And UMass wants to help.

Photo via iStock/esemelwe

School districts across the Commonwealth have been trying all sorts of new approaches to curbing chronic absenteeism among students. Last fall, Boston Public School enlisted the help of David Ortiz to make wake-up calls and help kids get to school on-time. Not to be outdone, Worcester schools are betting on… laundry?

After one Worcester middle school purchased a washer and dryer to help students feel more comfortable going to school, the district is moving forward with plans to install machines at four schools next school year, with the possibility of expanding the initiative to as many as 15 schools.

“Sometimes kids come into school wearing clothes that are not very fresh,” Sullivan Middle School principal Josephine Robertson told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. “That makes them feel isolated in the classroom, which then leads to other issues.” At Sullivan, where more than half of the students are considered “economically disadvantaged” by the state, that support can make a big difference.

The initiative has received a positive response so far, with UMass recently expressing interest in helping fund additional washers and dryers for additional Worcester schools.

[h/t Worcester T&G]