K-12 School Reopening Trends

November 22, 2021

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

Where We Are Now

This is Dennis from Burbio. Below is our weekly update. Feel free to share.

While slightly below last week's increase we continued to see a bigger increase in school closings this week than we saw in September and October.  Given the current issues around staffing we thought it would be a good time to break out some staffing categories from our growing ESSER III dataset.  More below.

Burbio School Opening Tracker-- With School Disruption Map Added

Burbio's School Mask Policy Tracker

Trends and Observations

  • Through this week we have tracked 858 disrupted districts, up from 769 last week, an increase of 89, which is lower than last week's increase of 94 (675 to 769).  The number of disrupted schools so far this year rose to 8,692, up from 7001, an increase of 1,691, less than last week's increase of 3,777 (3,224 to 7,001) as the number of large districts being disrupted was a bit smaller. Disruptions continue to be centered on staffing issues and for mental health reasons.

This week we introduce a new chart that shows the number of schools that have been either virtual, hybrid or closed by week from the beginning of the school year.  It is worth noting that from late August through September, the average school was closed between six and seven days.  For the most recent closures, the average is between two and three days, as mental health closures tend to be for one or two days wrapped around holidays:  

  •  In last week's blog post we outlined percentage and average spending for sixteen different categories across ESSER III, the $122 billion in Federal Spending authorized last spring, 90% of which goes to local districts.  Our dataset has now expanded to $38 billion in tracked planned spending in over 1,400 districts.   This week we wanted to highlight categories of spending in the area of staffing.  Below we can see that over 50% of school districts are planning on adding teaching staff with ESSER III funding:  
  • In our blog posts from the weeks of November 8th and November 15th we linked to various district-level announcements related to staffing and mental health closures that give a flavor for the nature of local disruptions.  Similarly this week we highlight examples of recent closures and the pressures on districts:  

  • In the mental health driven disruption category on November 17th Detroit Public Schools preemptively shifted to virtual learning on Fridays in December "after listening and reflecting on the concerns of school-based leaders, teachers, support staff, students, and families regarding the need for mental health relief . . . "  On November 19th the district further announced that it would be closed Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving for "cleaning and sanitization to ensure a strong return to in person learning on Monday, November 29th. "
  • This note from District 86 in Hinsdale, IL describes wide-ranging pressures across students and staff in announcing the district's two day break around Thanksgiving.  "We also understand and appreciate that more can and must be done to alleviate the stress and anxiety that everyone in education has been feeling during this challenging time."
  • Ontario, OR school district approved "Asynchronous Fridays" - independent study - from November 19th through March 3rd after surveys showed "overwhelming support" from staff and families.  "One of the main barriers that came up for parents was the need for childcare on the asynchronous Friday due to parent/guardian work schedules, lack of supervision at home, etc. .. ." notes the letter, which talks of a partnership with a local Boys & Girls Club. 
  • In this announcement of a virtual day on Friday, November 19th caused by last-second staffing shortages Tangipahoa Parish Public Schools notes, "The board and administration are committed to seeking a board policy adjustment regarding employee leave before major holidays or other corrective actions to keep this from happening again in the future."
  • A more traditional closure due to Covid-19 is noted on the pop-up on Bloomfield, NM School District that says  "Due to the positive number of COVID-19 cases and not enough staff to cover classrooms, we are taking preventative measures to keep our students and staff safe. This brief change to virtual learning is a preventative health step. We appreciate your understanding."
  • In other news from around the US worth noting:

Looking for More Data Like this?

Inform your decisions, make the most of your resources, improve your forecasts.

Contact Us