K-12 School Reopening Trends

January 12, 2022

For more detail on Burbio's dataset, please email dennis@burbio.com

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Where We Are Now

This is Dennis from Burbio.  Below is our update, feel free to share.  


School disruptions slowed to start this week as the majority of the schools that were virtual last week did open back up for in-person learning. Chicago schools also restarted in-person learning Wednesday.  As the week has unfolded there have been a number of district-wide shifts to virtual across parts of the West and Great Plains in areas that had seen few disruptions to date. We also have begun to see districts capture the upcoming three-day weekend by going virtual or closing on Thursday and Friday of this week. 


Burbio School Opening Tracker-- With School Disruption Map Added

Burbio's School Mask Policy Tracker

Trends and Observations

  •  Active school disruptions by week calculates the total number of schools that went virtual or closed for at least one day in a given week.   Note that Chicago is included this week (653 schools that were closed during some portion of the week of 1/10).  We expect that the figure for the week of 1/10 week will continue to rise as the week goes on as new schools will go virtual for a day or two around the upcoming holiday weekend. 
  •  Below is a chart for active closures by day based on districts' currently announced plans.  This reflects the return to school of students in Chicago schools on Wednesday, and you will note the drop that day (1/12/22).  The rise on Friday the 14th indicates some schools announcing plans to be virtual that day in advance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend. 
  •  Below is our disruption map.  We shifted the time frame slightly to January 1st-31st to give a clear view of activity in 2022.
  • Below are some examples of disruptions from the last few days from areas outside the Northeast and Midwest.   In November we noted districts in a handful of states taking days off around Veterans Day and Thanksgiving weekend to relieve pressure on their districts.   We note a similar trend around the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend that is emerging this week:

  • Clark County, NV school district, with 374 schools, will close Friday through Tuesday, missing two days of classes and adjusting the calendar for the balance of the school year to make up for it. "Due to the extreme staffing shortages based on the high number of positive COVID 19 cases, the District is adjusting the 2021-2022 District calendar to provide a five-day pause in alignment with the (the district's) COVID 19 Quarantine and Isolation Guidance. This five-day pause will promote a safe, healthy learning environment in our schools to 'Stop the Spread' . . . ."
  • Salem-Keiser Public school district, OR, with 65 schools, is closing on Friday, terming it a "non-student contact day."  "We have reached a crisis level staffing shortage," reports the district. 
  • Canyons School District, UT,  with 51 schools, will shift to at-home learning on January 18th.   "The temporary shift to remote learning was approved by the Canyons Board of Education in consultation with the Utah State Board of Education, state elected leaders, and the Salt Lake County Health Department with the understanding that this will better meet students’ academic, safety, and wellness needs."
  • Oklahoma City, OK school district, with 59 schools, is going virtual for Thursday and Friday.  "Even after working to reassign staff at all levels across the district, we have determined that we can no longer adequately sustain a safe and meaningful learning environment for our students," reads the announcement. "This is a manpower issue, and we are simply out of options."   A number of small districts in Oklahoma, as well as individual schools in the Tulsa district, have gone virtual as well.
  • Santa Fe, NM school district with 30 schools, announced earlier this week they will be virtual all next week.  From the note:  "We are currently unable to provide adequate coverage due to the increased number of absences. .  .  Additionally, we cannot continue to meet the state’s contact tracing requirements given such large numbers of positive cases . . . . Also, our state provider cannot currently meet the demand for surveillance testing for staff and Test to Stay for students . . . " 
  • Dayton, OH, school district, with 24 schools, is moving to a blended learning plan, which indicates asynchronous learning.  "We hope that this time at home will give everyone an opportunity to get well."  
  • Orangeburg, SC school district (29 schools) will be virtual Thursday and Friday.  “In the last few hours, we’ve had a number of schools report nearly 50 percent of their student bodies are impacted, and absence data for today showed student absences for isolations and quarantines related to COVID-19 surpassed 1,000,” says the Superintendent in this news story.
  • Spartanburg, SC District One (10 schools) will be virtual Thursday and Friday.  "Several of our schools have reached a critical point . . .  due to the high percentage of staff members required to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure. Additionally, we are experiencing a large increase of student absences districtwide. . . "   Spartanburg, SC District 3 (six schools) is also virtual on those days. 
  • Little Rock, AR school district has gone from a period being virtual to returning selected schools to in-person over the past week.  In this video the Superintendent explains the case number increases that overwhelmed the system last week.  

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