Several more states have removed mask mandates, and we have started to see more Top 500 districts adopt mask-optional policies. School disruptions...
Week of 2/14: High Dosage, Low Ratio
Disruptions stayed at their reduced levels of the previous week. We revisit the mask mandate figures for the Top 500 as states announce policy shifts, and re-issue a state-level Mask Policy Tracker map. We also profile tutoring programs being introduced as part of ESSER III planned spending.
- Implementation dates vary. Nevada removed the school mask mandate effective immediately. Mandates in Connecticut and Massachusetts. will be removed on February 28th. Rhode Island's will expire March 4th. New Jersey's mandate will expire on March 7th. Oregon will lift its school mask mandate "no later" than March 31st according to the state health authority. Delaware's school mask mandate will expire March 31st.
- In the above seven states, districts will still have the ability to maintain a mandate. For example, Nevada's FAQ reads "Yes, counties, cities, school districts, businesses and other settings are still allowed to require masks. This directive lifts the state-wide mask requirement, but it does not prevent an entity to require masks in settings they have jurisdiction in or own."
- To that point, districts in states affected by these changes have begun to announce their intentions. Among many announcements, in New Jersey, Newark and Camden announced they will keep their mandates in place, while Manalapan-Englishtown
and Summit will remove them. In Massachusetts, Boston and Spri ngfieldwill keep their mandate in place, while Billerica and Weymouth will remove them. Providence, RI schools will keep a mask mandate, while West Warwick, RI will move to mask-optional. New Haven, CT will keep the mandate in place, while West Hartford and Westport will remove it. Clark County, NV, school district, which covers Las Vegas, removed its mandate immediately upon that state's announcement.
- Currently 286 of the country's largest 500 districts (57.2%) require masks in schools, while another 21 (4.2%) require some segment of the school population to wear masks. Details can be found on Burbio's Mask Policy Tracker.
- New York, Maryland, New Mexico, California, Washington and Hawaii are the US states with an in-school mask mandate who have not announced any upcoming policy changes. In addition, Illinois Governor Pritzker announced that state's school mask mandate will stay in place even as a judge in the state granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting mask requirements in over 100 districts in Illinois.
- In addition to tracking mask policies at the Top 500 US school districts, Burbio is re-introducing our state-level map which can be found on our Mask Policy Tracker below the Top 500 analysis. Light green states are states where districts have flexibility, purple states have announced a change in policy that hasn't taken effect, dark blue states still have a mask mandate. In orange states, there are varying levels of litigation ongoing; in all orange states except Illinois, state level initiatives to ban in-school mask mandates are being contested in ongoing court cases. In Illinois it is the opposite - the state's requirement of masks in schools is being contested.
- In Tennessee the state guidance refers to "High Dosage/Low Ratio" tutoring for districts, which refers to the frequency of instruction and the number of students per tutor. In Shelby County, TN ($503MM) stakeholder input showed 42% of respondents citing "academic needs" as the top issue facing students - the next category was just 15% - and the district will be spending $42MM on "High Dosage, Low Ratio Tutoring. . . . Students below a specified academic threshold will receive instructional support in English language arts and/or math. . . a 1:10 tutor student ratio for before and after school tutoring at grades K-12, and a 1:4 tutor student ratio for tutoring occurring during the day at grades K-8."
- As part of a $20MM+ investment in extended day programs, Mobile, AL schools ($227MM) "will also partner with our local university to provide students with access to high dose tutoring utilizing college student teachers."
- Vallejo City, CA school district ($29.3MM) is planning to spend $4.5 MM to "engage vendors through June 2024 to provide students most impacted by lost instructional time with high dosage tutoring during and/or after the regular instructional day in the areas of English Language Arts, mathematics, and English Language Development. This action will supplement efforts in the referenced plans to provide targeted students with services through June 2024."
- Thornton Fractional Twp HSD 215, IL ($8.8MM) describes spending $112,000 against "Online; on demand tutoring for students - (purchasing a) 2 1/2 yr subscription . . . "
- Lisa Academy, AR ($7.3MM) will be spending $1MM on "High-dosage tutoring provided consistently by well-trained tutors or educators at least three days per week for at least 30 minutes at a time in groups of five or fewer students."
- In Roaring Fork, CO ($4MM +) the district will spend $80,000 per year for each of the next three years on "Peer Tutoring in High Schools."
- Huber Heights City Schools, OH ($11.6MM) is adding 30 grade-level tutors for elementary schools.
- Patchogue-Medford, NY ($16MM) is spending on "high dosage" tutoring programs in the elementary school for reading and math during the school day, and at the high school for credit recovery and tutoring programs that will be offered contiguous to the school day, in the evenings, and on weekends.