In all, 140,102 students logged on for the first day, which was highlighted by connectivity challenges as well as existing issues with equipping every child with devices.
By Wednesday, about 48,000 students were absent, and then 41,000 on Thursday.
By comparison, the school district last year was missing 59,000 students on the first day, and then 32,000 on the day after.
RELATED: HISD struggling to keep track of attendance during virtual learning
The district said thousands of students are still waiting for their laptops and hotspots to come in. HISD set up virtual learning centers, where students can use a desktop in a socially distanced room, but still, few kids showed up.
"There were parents that we contacted that said they were not sending their children to the learning centers. We are prepared to receive up to 18,000 students. We have 681, but we're ready," said Interim Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan.
During HISD's school board meeting Thursday night, she said they anticipate a large return of students once in-person learning begins.
"Teachers are reaching out - and principals and staff - to the students that are on the rosters, but if students do not engage by tomorrow, they are dropped from the school's roster," Lathan explained.
Also on Thursday, the board gave the go-ahead to look into, if necessary, the extension of remote learning by two weeks. The district is still slated to return to in-person instruction on Oct. 19.
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