K-12 School Reopening Trends

April 12, 2021

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

Where We Are Now

Burbio School Opening Tracker- Now Including State Averages

  • % US K-12 students attending "virtual-only" schools = 12.2% (from 14.4% last week)
  • % US K-12 students attending "traditional" in-person/every day" schools = 59.4% (from 55.3%)
  • % US K-12 students attending "hybrid" schools = 28.4% (from 30.3%)

    The above percentages are set to Sunday, April 11th. Our data is presented as "students attending schools that offer this learning plan" - most districts also offer virtual even when providing in-person. For above, 12.2% of US K-12 students are currently attending schools that offer virtual-only plans, 59.4% offering traditional, etc.

Trends and Observations

  • Some large "Always Virtual" cities are bringing students in for the first time.

  • In California. Los Angeles will bring K-5 in over the course of next week and middle and high school the week following in a hybrid model. Sacramento brought K-3 in hybrid this past week and will bring 4-12 in hybrid over the next two weeks. San Francisco will begin bringing in K-5 students next week in an announcement that has lots of qualifying language and no time frame set for the widespread 6-12 in-person learning. Fresno returned some grades hybrid last week and the balance will return this week.
  • In other states, Seattle and Portland now have K-5 students in hybrid and will bring 6-12 in the week of April 19th. Newark, NJ returns students in hybrid the week of 4/12. Milwaukee begins returning younger students next week, their transition plan over the next few weeks keeps grades 9, 10, and 11 virtual. Prince George's County, MD returned K-6 and 12 in hybrid this week with grades 7-11 returning late next week. Clayton County, GA, a large district just outside Atlanta, returns K-5 in hybrid this week and will bring them in traditional in two weeks. Clayton schools currently have no plans for returning 6-12 in-person.
  • In a smaller but widely covered district, Montclair, NJ will return K-5 in hybrid this coming week with an indeterminate schedule for 6-12. New Brunswick, NJ will bring all students in hybrid over the next two weeks, and Plainfield, NJ brings all students in hybrid this week for the first time, with over half having opted out of in-person.
  • At the state level, New Mexico went from one of the most virtual states to one of the most in-person as seen on our School Opening Tracker as state mandates kicked in. Massachusetts figures took a big jump as their K-5 in-person requirements took effect. Next week we expect North Carolina, currently much further along in offering in-person, to make a big shift, and the week after that New Hampshire will as well based on similar mandates. Oregon, California, and Washington will jump considerably with many returns occurring the weeks of the 12th and the 19th, although in those states most returns are hybrid. Conversely, Michigan Governor Whitmer urged high schools in the state to go virtual for two weeks due to rising Covid-19 rates.
  • In noted moves to traditional, Fairfax, VA will offer traditional to some students April 20th, Wake County, NC completed a move to traditional this week, and Rochester, MN moved middle and high school to traditional this week. Montgomery went from virtual to traditional and Birmingham, AL completed a move to traditional from hybrid, as did U46 in Elgin, IL,.
  • In addition to the School Opening Tracker, Burbio's service aggregates and auto-updates 80,000+ K-12 public school calendars representing over 90% of the US K-12 student population and can analyze start dates, end dates, vacations, and more. This week we look at when students will be done with school this academic year. We found that almost half of K-12 students will be done with school before Memorial Day and fully 75% by June 12th.
  • The K-5 virtual number will drop to almost zero by the end of this month as all but a handful of districts across the US open K-5 at least in hybrid. We expect grades 6-12 to remain significantly more 'hybrid' than K-5, and slightly more virtual, as most of the remaining "Always Virtual" districts do have some sort of 6-12 opening plans on their schedule. Remaining "virtual" districts through the end of the year consist of a few mid-size cities and inner-ring suburbs in a handful of states. Hybrid districts will be concentrated on the West coast, pockets of the Northeast from Maryland on up, and big cities across the Midwest and Northeast. It's not clear right now how low the national hybrid numbers will drop, as "Always Virtual' districts are returning in hybrid - bumping that number up - and many "conversions to traditional" among current hybrid districts should occur in the next two weeks (with the end of Spring break) if they are going to occur at all this year. The biggest issue for next Fall, as noted in last week's report, is what happens to educational offerings if and when 80-90% (if not more) of the students choose to be in-person, as the current 3 foot guidelines appear to create issues in certain districts around lunchtime, bussing and classroom space.

K-5 Students:

9% attending virtual-only schools (from 11.3% last week)
23.5 % attending schools offering hybrid (from 24.8%)
67.5% attending schools offering traditional (from 63.9%)

Grades 6-8 Students

13.9% attending virtual-only schools (from 16% last week)
31.4% attending schools offering hybrid (from 33.8%)
54.7% attending schools offering traditional (from 50.2%)

High School Students

15.4 % attending virtual-only schools (from 17.2% last week)
33.6 % attending schools offering hybrid (from 36.2%)
51% attending schools offering traditional (from 46.6%)

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