% 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.
In Reading, PA they report "most students in grades 9-12 will continue in Full Remote Learning mode. However, they will have the opportunity to meet with their teachers in-person, by appointment, on a case-by-case basis."
Henrico, VA is launching Henrico Virtual Academy, a K-12 virtual school, next year.
Garden Grove, CA is offering a Virtual Learning Academy and notes 'space is limited and . . . an interview process may be implemented.'
In Texas all plans for virtual appear to be contingent on action from the Texas State legislature. In Frisco, TX they will offer a 3-12 virtual academy as will Killeen, TX. The Pasadena, TX Remote Learning Academy will offer virtual to grades K-12.
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.
In this NPR piece the head of the teacher's union endorses in-person learning while saying the district should still offer virtual learning to students with health concerns. The article also notes that in Washington DC just 30% of students are currently attending at least one day a week of in-person learning during the current Term 4.
In this Washington Post piece about Term 4, the final part of the academic year, the DC Superintendent is quoted as saying that "more than 80 percent of schools are meeting their families interest for in-person learning." In both the Post and NPR articles there is considerable discussion around disparities in the levels of interest in in-person learning across the district.
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.