Several more states have removed mask mandates, and we have started to see more Top 500 districts adopt mask-optional policies. School disruptions have stayed at their very low level. This week we look at some examples of summer school programs being funded by ESSER III.
Burbio's detailed tabulation of ESSER III planned spending has now reached over $67 billion across 3,000+ districts.
1. This week saw continued movement in state mask mandates for districts around the US. Burbio's Mask Policy Tracker
has a continuously updated tracker of Top 500 district mask policies. As of Sunday, February 20th, 220 of the Top 500 districts are mask-optional, the highest level seen this academic year and an increase from 176 on February 4th. The figures in the chart pull from our database in real time, and are set to the effective date of the district's change, meaning a district that has announced a plan to switch to mask-optional won't appear as such until that date occurs:
Among the news from this week:
- New Mexico lifted its school mask mandate effective immediately on February 17th spurring Albuquerque school district to immediately lift its mandate along with Roswell, Las Cruces, Alamogordo, and Espanola school districts, among several others.
- Washington Governor Inslee announced that the state is eliminating its school mask mandate effective March 21st.
- Virginia's Governor Youngkin signed SB 739 which will go into effect March 1st: "The bill permits . . . the parent of any child enrolled in a public elementary or secondary school, or in any school-based early childhood care and education program, to elect for such child to not wear a mask while on school property."
- In Virginia, Prince William County Schools and Arlington Public Schools will move to mask-optional, as will Richmond Public Schools, where the Superintendent notes, "Though I strongly disagree with this, it is now the law and we will comply." Fredericksburg City Public Schools is moving to mask-optional March 1st as are Charlottesville Public Schools and Hopewell City Public Schools Several districts haven't formally announced plans, with Alexandria and Portsmouth scheduling board meetings this week, and Fairfax County Public Schools noting only, " We recognize our legal obligations and will maintain our commitment to the health and safety of our students and staff."
- In Illinois a series of events in the legislature and the courts related to the Governor's executive order on school masks have resulted in Illinois districts becoming mask-optional.
- In mask-optional Indiana, as part of a broad set of changes to contact tracing and case reporting the Department of Health announced changes to quarantine rules that eliminate the distinction between masked and unmasked students in deciding how to treat close contacts.
- In Michigan the state health department changed guidance involving school masks which this local media report summarized as "Governor Whitmer drops masks suggestion." Local health departments across Michigan are dropping mask requirements for schools. Ypsilanti, MI school district will keep mask mandates in place even as the health department requirement expires.
- Below is Burbio's state-level mask map. This week we moved New Mexico to light green and Washington to purple. Absent successful legal challenges to the status quo we have moved Virginia to dark green and Illinois to light green. Remaining states with mask mandates and no announced plans to shift are California, Maryland, New York, Hawaii and the District of Columbia.
2. School disruptions have reached a consistently low level resembling September and October. The chart indicates the number of districts that have been disrupted for at least one day each week. The daily summary can be found at our School Opening Tracker.
3. In the Spring 2021 the Federal government authorized $122 billion in spending termed "ESSER III''
for "Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief,'' allocated on the basis of Title I. Burbio tabulates the detailed plans disclosed at the district level and has currently tabulated 3,000+ district plans covering $67 billion in spending. Over half of districts are allocating spending against summer school beginning in the summer of 2022 and this week we wanted to highlight some examples. The figure in parenthesis is the total ESSER III allocation for the district:
- Fort Payne City, AL ($6.5 MM) will be running a "Summer Enrichment Literacy Camp during the Summer of 2022,2023,2024 . . . . The camp will run for a minimum of seventy hours and will meet daily for four days a week. Subjects to be covered are mathematics, reading and STREAM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. .. . 5 weeks, 4 hours per day, 4 days per week."
- Colorado Springs, CO ($59.9MM) will be conducting " Summer Bridge ‐ summer programs to address lost learning and the social/emotional needs of students" at 31 schools.
- Sioux Falls, SD ($37.4MM) "will provide an elementary Summer Academy" and "Four weeks of elementary immersion summer school funded through Title I will be extended for 1-3 weeks during the summers of 2022 and 2023. . ."
- Freeport ISD, IL ($14.8MM) is spending $500K per year the next three years on "Summer Learning: All programming including Jumpstart to Kindergarten, Enrichment, Academics, Transition to Freshman Year, AP prep, Credit Recovery, Mentoring Program, Alternative High School 5th semester, and Community Service Programming."
- Elkhart, IN ($26.4MM) is spending $1.4MM "partnering summer programs with the City of Elkhart, Elkhart Parks Department, Elkhart Education Foundation, Five Star, Lifeline, and ULEAD."
- Farmington Municipal Schools, NM ($19MM) summer program will include " additional learning opportunities specific to core content, art, music and movement . .. . support for elementary students, specific to mathematics and literacy.. .. Summer Camp and OST expansion. Expand after school programs to 4 additional elementary sites and 3 HS sites . . . "
- Davidson County School District, Nashville, TN ($276MM) is spending $18MM on "Promising Scholars and summer experiences - Extending our summer school programming through 2024 to accelerate learning."
- Frederick County, VA ($10.8MM) will spend $1.5MM over the next three summers on "Summer Academy Camps and Pathways for Students in PK-12th Grades Identified as At Risk as a Result of Learning Loss. . : Camps and pathways will focus on providing deeper learning experiences for students through the application of skills and strategies to projects designed to help students make connections to real-world problems and solutions."
- Rutland, VT ($11.3MM) will operate "Engaging Summer “camps” with integrated learning in math/ELA" as part of a goal that "By October 2023, all students in grades K-3 with current learning growth gaps in ELA and Math of 12 months or more will have those gaps reduced to less than a quantifiable three month gap and all students currently in grades 4-9 will be on pace to graduate from RHS on time, with full credits."
- Harrison County, WV ($29MM) "will offer to all students grades K-12 a summer program to address focused instructional needs for learning recovery. The program is scheduled for 8am – 12pm Monday –Thursday operating June - July. .>> Afternoon participation in Parks and Recreation program is available for K-8 students. Project AIM High (grades K-5) will include innovative intervention with focus on reading and math. Middle School Summer Academy will focus on writing, reading, math, and study skills/behavior intervention . . . "