K-12 School Reopening Trends

November 1, 2021

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

Where We Are Now

Closure numbers this week are similar to the last few weeks. This week we look at the recent increase in mask-optional districts and the prevalence of test-to-stay in large districts.

Burbio School Opening Tracker-- With School Disruption Map Added

Burbio's School Mask Policy Tracker

Trends and Observations

  •   School closures continue to bottom out as we have identified 636 districts across 2,462 schools. A "closure event" is either an entire district closing all its schools (that would be one closure event) or an individual school closing within a district:
  • We saw quite a bit of movement on mask policies this week:

  •  The above movement in masks is reflected in our Top 200 mask policy history, below. The number of Top 200 districts with mask mandates is now at its lowest total since August. Note: In our Top 500 summary on our School Opening Tracker page the number of districts with mask mandates has dropped from 367 to 347 in the last week.

  • Some figures around test-to-stay and student vaccines:

  • Of the Top 200 districts in the US, only four operate test-to-stay for quarantines: Long Beach Unified (CA), Fayette County (KY), Jefferson County (KY), Boston (MA). Utah districts, of which there are several in the Top 200, have a test-to-stay program that refers to testing all students when a school reaches certain Covid 19 positive levels. Of the Top 500 districts we currently identify only 19 districts offering test-to-stay.
  • Only five districts in the Top 200 currently require 12-17 year olds to be vaccinated and they are all in California. Oakland, CA will prohibit unvaccinated eligible students from in-person school. Several districts in the Top 200, primarily from Maryland, Virginia, and some bigger cities, require high school athletes to be vaccinated.
  • States continue to make adjustments to quarantine and testing regulations, all of which have the effect of keeping more students and staff in school:

  • Ohio issued new quarantine guidance allowing close contacts to stay in school (no testing required) if they wear a mask for fourteen days and to participate in extracurriculars if they get tested and mask in certain circumstances. In this interesting note from Franklin County, OH, a district that piloted a test-to-stay program, 2.63% of close contacts tested positive for Covid 19 after one test and 0.88% tested positive after a second.
  • In New York the state health department issued a letter giving counties flexibility to offer test-to-stay and test-out-of-quarantine options, as well as options to take into account recent Covid 19 infections when testing unvaccinated staff. However the letter adds, "At this time the (department) does not recommend (test-to-stay)" and "will not provide new (test-to-stay) assistance . . . or resources to schools . .. who permit the practice."
  • In Arkansas the Governor changed the definition of close contact from six feet to three feet.

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