K-12 School Reopening Trends

June 07, 2021

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

Where We Are Now

K-12 transitions have come to a close as the numbers are now fixed for the balance of the year, with just over 30% of US K-12 students attending hybrid or virtual schools. We saw some large districts announce virtual offerings for next year, have a "Year in Review" chart comparing K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 learning plans, and state-level mask mandates continue to be removed. More below.

Burbio School Opening Tracker- Now Including State Averages

  • % US K-12 students attending "virtual-only" schools = 2.1% (no change from last week)
  • % US K-12 students attending "traditional" in-person/every day" schools = 69.6% (no change)
  • % US K-12 students attending "hybrid" schools = 28.3% (no change)

    The above percentages are set to Sunday, June 6th. 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 2.1% of US K-12 students are currently attending schools that offer virtual-only plans, 69.6% offering traditional, etc.

Trends and Observations

  • In recent weeks we saw announcements from the states of Illinois and New Jersey, plus New York City, outlining plans that had highly restrictive virtual options for next academic year. This week, however, districts in Massachusetts, California and Virginia outlined stand-alone virtual academies, and Texas is near authorizing districts to offer virtual next year. Combine these announcement with virtual options already being offered throughout the Sun Belt, and states such as Missouri, Iowa, Indiana and Minnesota, and it appears virtual learning will be widely offered in 2021/22.

  • In-school mask policies continue to evolve, including a flip-flop in New York state.

  • In our Year in Review series, below is our in-person index by grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12 over the course of the year. K-5 students had the highest in-person index all year, and the gap became widest in the early Spring when "Always Virtual' states and big cities started returning to in-person and often brought in K-5 for in-person weeks ahead of older students. The gap narrowed as the year went on.

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