K-12 School Reopening Trends

October 11, 2021

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

Where We Are Now

The drop in in school closures (the up-to-date map can be found at the top of our School Opening Tracker page) continued this week. We expanded our mitigation dataset this week and below we look at mask and vaccine policies of the 500 largest US school districts.

Burbio School Opening Tracker-- With School Disruption Map Added

Burbio's School Mask Policy Tracker

Trends and Observations

  • School closures continued their slowdown this week as we tracked 580 affected districts (from 561 last week) involving 2,265 schools.  While the nineteen new districts are a tiny increase from last week's change (we caught twelve new districts with closures last week) the slowdown is reflected in the chart showing "closure events" (a full district, or an specific school) per week. These figures will increase a bit in future weeks as we find closures on a slight time lag but the current trend is clear:
  • In addition to monitoring school closures in all districts across the US, Burbio is expanding the number of districts where we examine details of Covid 19 mitigation policies. This week we look at the mask policies for the 500 largest districts in the US. Almost three-quarters require masks; "other" refers to districts where only a partial requirement exists (only unvaccinated, only certain age groups, etc.).
  •   We also look at the number of Top 500 districts that require vaccination for staff. Thirty six percent of the largest districts to do so. "Other" refers to districts where no information was available or only certain staff (i.e, coaches, etc.) are required.
  •  States across the country are making testing plans available to districts. Timelines and implementation specifics vary but we wanted to highlight a few examples:

  • With the recent slowdown in school closures in the last two weeks we took a look at what was happening last Fall at this time. Below is the national in-person index by week, calculated from the 2020/21 audit set of 1,200 districts representing 47% of the US school population. Note from September 1st through November 1st last year the percent of students attending "virtual-only" schools dropped from 62% to 37%, dropping an average of three percent a week. From September 15th to October 15th last Fall we noted only ten districts in our dataset that were open for in-person learning that moved backwards to a more virtual format. It was in our October 19th, 2020 and October 26th, 2020 blog posts that we picked up on what would become winter disruptions across the Midwest and Northeast in November.
  • Across the US this Fall we have observed districts using incentive payments for vaccinations and testing. Here are a few highlights from across the country:

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