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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.
% 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.
Springfield, MA will be offering a virtual academy next year after a very high level of interest from a small survey sample (742 responses in a district of 25,000 students). Planning for the academy preceded Covid19 and enrollment will begin with 50 students per grade.
Indiana Governor Holcomb removed in-school mask mandates as of June 30th and will leave the decision to local school boards. This and other recent shifts makes "No Mask Mandate - Local Flexibility" the most prevalent state-level policy category (affecting 38% of US K-12 students) as seen on our School Mask Policy Tracker.
This piece lays out the criteria that has been set by North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services to remove in-school mask mandates. It includes vaccination for children under 12 and more research around the effects of Covid 19, meaning North Carolina will stay dark blue indefinitely.
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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