As the year comes to a close there are very few transitions - from virtual to in-person, or from hybrid to traditional - left to be made, so the...
Week of 5/3: Remaining Obstacles
The continued drop in virtual this week was driven by grades 6-12 as the "Always Virtual" areas with long phase-ins offered in-person to more of these students. This week we review the regions of the country that have not yet offered traditional in-person this year and summarize the obstacles and unknowns around a nationwide return to traditional in-person next Fall.
% US K-12 students attending "traditional" in-person/every day" schools = 67.1% (from 65.3%)
% US K-12 students attending "hybrid" schools = 29.6% (from 29.1%)
The above percentages are set to Sunday, May 2nd. 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, 3.3% of US K-12 students are currently attending schools that offer virtual-only plans, 67.1% offering traditional, etc.
- Tuscaloosa, AL schools will offer a virtual academy but only to grades 9-12.
- North Kansas City, MO schools are offering two separate virtual learning platforms, one for grades K-8 and one for high school.
- Chesapeake Public Schools will offer virtual learning only through the state-run Virtual Virginia program, and they require a full year commitment.
- Downington Area School District, PA will continue with its long running cyber academy next year that offers elements of in-person learning.
- Poudre School District, CO, will be enhancing its long-running Poudre Global Academy, which offers a 100 percent virtual option and a hybrid option.
- Hillsboro School District, WA will offer a virtual-only track with a minimum of a semester-long commitment.
- Klein ISD, TX will offer a virtual academy for grades 3-12 subject to action by the state legislature.
- Nashville, TN is offering a virtual school for grades 4-12.
- Calcasieu Parish School Board in Lake Charles, LA will offer a virtual-only program for K-8 and 9-12 in a hybrid instructional model.
- Many districts couldn't open for traditional in-person even with the new three foot CDC guidance. In addition to classrooms, the issue of six foot spacing while eating, as well as busing logistics, are major issues. It raises the question of how they reopen in the Fall for traditional in-person if they can't do so now.
- The percentage of students opting-out of in-person learning ranges from between 10-30% outside of urban areas to well over 50% in most cities. Many of these districts, including some large cities, currently offer traditional in-person, but they haven't had to manage space as efficiently as they will need to if 90%+ of their student bodies return. It would seem that the current guidance may become an issue in some of these areas at that time.
- Similarly, as we have noted in previous weeks, a number of the districts that have transitioned to either hybrid or traditional learning since January have done so with rump schedules, some of which seem expressly designed to avoid eating in the building, but all of which would need to expand to create a typical school day. This chart from the state of Maryland does a great job of illustrating just how varied offerings are in a more recently opened state.
- The Fall 2021 school year starts in less than four months in much of the US. As noted above, many urban districts have over 50% of students declining the opportunity to be in-person. Above we note the spacing challenges that might exist if students make a complete return. The opposite of that "high-return" scenario is the percent of students choosing to learn remotely remains high. Most of these cities have not outlined how the virtual and in-person learning experiences will coexist in such a scenario, and this remains a considerable logistical question heading into next academic year.
2.2% attending virtual-only schools (from 2.7% last week)
24.1% attending schools offering hybrid (from 25.1%)
73.7% attending schools offering traditional (from 72.2%)
Grades 6-8 Students
4.0% attending virtual-only schools (from 7.6% last week)
31.6% attending schools offering hybrid (from 30.4%)
64.4% attending schools offering traditional (from 62%)
High School Students
4.3% attending virtual-only schools (from 8.2% last week)
36.3 % attending schools offering hybrid (from 34%)
59.4% attending schools offering traditional (from 57.8%)