School disruptions slowed to start this week as the majority of the schools that were virtual last week did open back up for in-person learning....
1/5 Update: New Year Begins
Since last week we saw a rise in school disruptions driven by Covid 19 cases, in particular among staff. In this report we introduce a new "disruptions by day" chart that gives a more precise look at the post-vacation dynamic of the school year. We will be updating our School Opening Tracker on a daily basis so please check that for changes.
2. Outside of Chicago and a handful of districts that announced a shift to virtual learning before Christmas (discussed in our December 23rd report) current disruptions tend to be triggered by cases among staff. The near-universal approach for K-12 schools in the new year has been to open for in-person learning and only close in the event of Covid 19 cases being identified at levels that create resource constraints Below is an updated chart that shows the number of schools who either shifted to virtual or closed temporarily for at least one day. There are approximately 98,000 US K-12 schools.
- Forsyth County, GA reports "To assess our ability to staff schools and transport students, Forsyth County Schools will have virtual learning days for all students on Thursday and Friday, January 6 and 7.. We plan to resume face-to-face instruction on Monday, January 10 if we have adequate staff coverage. A final decision for Monday will be made by the close of business on Friday, January 7."
- Individual schools closed for in-person learning within districts such as Syracuse, NY, Baltimore, MD Pittsburgh, PA, Columbus, OH, and a big list of Philadelphia, PA schools.
- Montgomery County, MD school district is one of the only districts we have seen using a predetermined case percentage (5%) for school closures. As of this writing 11 schools in that district are virtual for two weeks.
- Initial closures in New Jersey were focused on urban areas, but are spreading to suburban districts including Hillsborough Township, Cranford, Millburn, and Red Bank.
- Niles Township District 219, IL, will be virtual through January 14th due staffing shortages.
- Romulus Community Schools, MI will be virtual through January 14th due to increasing Covid 19 rates.
- Lancaster ISD, TX is virtual from January 5th through 7th - closed on January 4th - and describes a detailed plan in their announcement.
- Ipswich, MA school districts closure announcement gives an interesting flavor to the situation - their words: "The Ipswich Public Schools will be closed Monday, January 3, 2022 for a "snow day". In light of the holiday break and the number of positive COVID cases involving students and staff, tomorrow we will be administering self-test kits to staff along with KN95 masks that have been provided by the state. This will also give us a chance to identify any lingering concerns and adjust staffing accordingly. Thank you for your continued support during these challenging times."