K-12 School Reopening Trends

May 10, 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 = 2.8% (from 3.3 % last week)
  • % US K-12 students attending "traditional" in-person/every day" schools = 67.9% (from 67.1%)
  • %US K-12 students attending "hybrid" schools = 29.3% (from 29.6%)

    The above percentages are set to Sunday, May 9th. 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, 2.8% of US K-12 students are currently attending schools that offer virtual-only plans, 67.9% offering traditional, etc.

Trends and Observations

  •  In our April 26th update we highlighted districts with all of K-12 virtual for the year. This week we highlight districts that have some youngers students in-person but do not plan to return older students this academic year.

  • We saw some announcements for new virtual learning options for next Fall. For next week's newsletter we will provide a national framework for what we see developing in this area:

  • As noted in previous reports there are many urban districts that currently operate fragmented in-person learning plans with high levels of students opting out of in-person learning who are also announcing an intention for traditional in-person learning next year. We wanted to offer a case study of a representative district: Washington, DC.

As of this update, a number of cities around the country have a similar dynamic at play and they often share a number of characteristics. There are concrete announcements about traditional learning next Fall. There are vague or even what sound like conflicting approaches to virtual learning and no announced plans around the mechanics of delivery. Large percentages of students are opting out of in-person. Learning plans offered across schools vary widely, often with a pronounced demographic or economic skew, and do not closely resemble what a pre-Covid 19 school day would look like. Safety precautions in place in the district appear to exceed the CDC guidelines in an effort to get stakeholders comfortable with the classroom experience. In some cases students are supervised but there are no teachers in the classroom. While there is momentum to bring students into the classroom, all these factors suggest there are considerable obstacles that have not been addressed.

  • Burbio tracks summer school offerings in the top 200 districts nationally. Just over 70% of districts have announced plans, with over one-third of announced districts having significantly expanded plans versus 2020.
  • As the year comes to a close it looks like the biggest difference between K-5 and 6-12 will be in traditional learning being between 9 and 14 percentage points higher in K-5 than in the older grades.

K-5 Students:

2% attending virtual-only schools (from 2.2% last week)
23.5% attending schools offering hybrid (from 24.1%)
74.5% attending schools offering traditional (from 73.7%)

Grades 6-8 Students

3.3% attending virtual-only schools (from 4.0% last week)
31.4% attending schools offering hybrid (from 31.6%)
65.3% attending schools offering traditional (from 64.4%)

High School Students

3.5% attending virtual-only schools (from 4.3% last week)
36.4% attending schools offering hybrid (from 36.3%)
60.1% attending schools offering traditional (from 59.4%)

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