K-12 School Reopening Trends
June 23, 2021
Where We Are Now
In addition to observations from across the US, we note the impending school start dates for 2021/2023 that are coming up in early August.
Burbio School Opening Tracker- Including State Averages
- % US K-12 students attending “virtual-only” schools = 2.1% (no change from last week)
- % US K-12 students attending “traditional” in-person/every day” schools = 69.7% (+ 0.1%)
- % US K-12 students attending “hybrid” schools = 28.2% (-0.1%)
The above percentages are set to Sunday, June 20th. data is presented as “students attending schools that offer this learning plan” – most districts also offer virtual even when providing in-person. For above 2.1% of US K-12 students are currently attending schools that offer virtual-only plans, 69.7% offering traditional, etc.
Trends and Observations
- This week from across the country
- Cleveland will have a virtual academy for grades K-12 in 2021/22 that requires a semester-long commitment and will allow enrolled students to have access to school extracurricular activities.
- In Texas, a walkout by legislators over election law changes prevented a vote on a change in the law for funding virtual schooling, and has resulted in districts rolling back plans to launch virtual academies amidst the uncertainty.
- Albany, NY’s plan for next Fall is currently planning on a hybrid model if over 75% “building capacity” is reached, while also offering virtual. This is based on three foot distancing rules.
- Reynold’s School District in Oregon will be offering virtual next year and says they are still awaiting guidance from the state on in-person options. Bismark, ND school district will discontinue their virtual academy from this past year but will “spend the 2021-2022 school year researching and planning for a potential continuation of a virtual academy.”
- Gary IN schools, which was virtual through the Fall until a February shift to traditional in-person, is considering adding one hour a day to the school day and is surveying parents
- Even as some US schools are finishing up the 2020/21 school year, school is close to starting for 2021/22 in large parts of the US. In addition to our School Opening Tracker Burbio tracks 80,000+ school calendars (start dates, end dates, testing dates, vacations, and more) representing roughly 90% of US K-12 students. Below is the distribution of school start dates for the 2021/2022 school year by percentage of US K-12 students. Note that over 10% of US K-12 students – or 5MM+ students – are scheduled to start school by the week of August 2nd. The volume of students starting by that date will give an early indication as to what 2021/22 will look like.
School start dates vary widely by regions and even within states. Below are three states, Tennessee, Michigan, and New York, with percentage of students starting by week. Back-to-School is a significant economic event, and start dates, which differ by community, will create concentrated periods of economic activity around consumer spending, employment and mobility not seen since the Fall of 2019.
- This week multiple states dropped mask mandates while some other states and at least one large district kept them in place. State by state guidelines are summarized on our State Mask Policy Tracker .
- Kentucky dropped the in-school mask mandate while allowing for local district flexibility.
- Maine announced a removal of in-school mask mandates while recommending them for unvaccinated people under 12.
- Maryland eliminated its in-school mask mandate and reported that “these are decisions that local school districts and authorities” will make.
- Media reports out of Vermont indicate that schools can no longer require masks. The actual guidance on the State website doesn’t get that explicit and recommends masking indoors.for unvaccinated individuals even as the mandate is removed. We have Vermont as dark green for now but will monitor for better clarification.
- In Los Angeles a recently announcement agreement with teachers calls for mandatory masks for the Fall.
- In North Carolina the governor extended a number of Covid-19 related emergency orders, which included masks in schools, until July 30th.
- Illinois also extended in-school mask mandates
- Late Friday, news reports came out that Massachusetts was removing its mask mandate and we will be updating our map accordingly. Local districts will still have flexibility.
- In Virginia an in-school mask order still applies through at least June 30th but the Chesapeake Public Schools voted to remove the mandate should that order be allowed to expire by the Governor.
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