K-12 School Reopening Trends

May 2, 2022

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Where We Are Now

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

Burbio is conducting a Webinar at 3 pm on Tuesday, May 10th titled "Who is Spending on What: $80 billion of ESSER III Spending Plans" for companies that work with K-12.  Register here for this brief but critical dive into how to uncover the details of ESSER III spending across the US.    


This week we look at updated enrollment comparisons for 2021/22 versus 2020/21 and detail New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  We also examine HVAC and air quality investments being made across the US.   More below. 

Burbio School Opening Tracker

 

Burbio Mask Policy Tracker

 

Burbio ESSER III Spending Tracker - Including Enrollment Charts

Trends and Observations

  • This week we added New Jersey's year-over-year comparisons to our enrollment analysis (down 0.1% from 2020/21 to 2021/22) and we also added New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Nebraska to the grade-level comparisons.  Below are the updated national enrollment trends charts by locale and by grade.  We have 42  states for overall enrollment and 35 states that we can compare by grade:
  • We did want to focus on two larger states where we have detail to show their patterns. First, Pennsylvania (down 0.3% overall versus year ago): 
  • Next, New Jersey.   New Jersey's urban districts were some of the most virtual in the US during 2020/21.   In-person actually rose slightly this year New Jersey's "city" districts, bucking the national pattern, as the state's three largest city districts (Newark, Trenton and Jersey City) all reported higher enrollment driven by Pre-K growth, and in Newark's case, an increase in all four high school grades.  The state saw an enrollment decline in suburban districts.  The grade level pattern is similar to national: 
  • Spending on HVAC and other initiatives to improve ventilation is the highest category of ESSER III spending in school districts across the US, with fifty percent of districts spending in this area.  Note below the variety of areas that encompass the efforts to improve air quality in public education, covering everything from new carpeting to modular classrooms to windows and doors: 

  • Pomona Unified School District, CA ($75.3MM) is planning to spend just over $1MM on air purifiers, just under $2MM on outdoor classrooms, and $46MM on  "HVAC/Doors/Windows  . . . to be replaced as needed to improve indoor air quality, to increase circulation to mitigate the spread of COVID, and to maintain the health and safety of staff, students, and the community."    
  • East Hartford Public Schools, CT ($20.9MM) is spending $1.8MM to:"Replace the Tri-Generation Turbine System at the high school to improve air quality," $900,000 at the high school to install a new generator to "ensure proper air quality back-up," $735,000 for ductless split AC units at five schools, and $80,000 to replace windows at one school to improve air quality.
  • Prince George's County Public Schools, MD ($274.5MM) outlines over $40MM in upgrades, including $19.5MM to "replace outdated HVAC equipment," $8MM to "replace aging modular classroom additions to improve air quality,"  $5.6MM to "provide additional portable filtration and dehumidification units," $4.8MM to "refresh outdated building automation computer system to allow for better filtration and ability to provide fresh air" and $1.5MM for  "systemic removal of carpet harboring micro-organisms causing respiratory issues."  
  • Nash County Public Schools, NC  ($36.8MM) will spend $8.1MM to "Upgrade HVAC systems, repair chillers and boilers and purchasing the needed supplies and materials" and $1.9MM to "Upgrade and replace windows and doors for schools to ensure that a pure air flow quality is accessible at each school."
  • Mingo County Schools, WV  ($17.1MM) will spend $8MM and HVAC upgrades at 5 schools, $500,000 to provide outdoor learning spaces at "all 9 Mingo K-12 facilities," $500,000 to renovate two school auditoriums to "provide for additional learning spaces to allow for maximum social distancing" and $817,000 on "replacement of windows and doors at various facilities." 
  • Elementary School District 159, IL ($4.8MM) will spend $342,000 for  "Facility flooring upgrade to remove old carpeting in classrooms throughout the school district to improve safety . .  The old carpeting is a barrier to air quality because it holds dust, can weaken the immune system and promote respiratory issues. Flooring is easier to maintain and will increase the safety and welfare of students and staff."  The district will also spend $326,000 on HVAC.
  • McAlester Public Schools, OK ($7MM) "seek(s) to purchase $3.1 million in HVAC systems, so every building used in the district will have new HVAC systems installed.  . . . We will also install an air purifier/ionizer which will remove viruses/ bacteria from the air . . ." while also purchasing "Energy Efficient Windows - Seek to use $200,000 of ARP funding to purchase Energy efficient windows which will open to allow fresh air into the classrooms."
  • Dorchester County School District 4, SC ($8.2MM) is spending just over $5MM on initiatives including "Carpet/ Flooring replacement at all locations to reduce trapped bacteria, viruses, etc., in existing flooring. Improve lighting at all locations to help combat COVID- 19. . . Research and studies have shown ultraviolet lighting helps combat COVID-19. Window and door replacements will be part of the repairs . .  . HVAC replacements will be made to provide better air quality and ventilation in school facilities . . ."
  • Barrow County School System, GA ($19.9MM) will spend 22.6% of their budget - just under $5MM -on "inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrade projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including mechanical and nonmechanical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, filtering, purification and other air cleaning, fans, control systems, and window and door repair and replacement."

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