Burbio's K-12 School Opening Tracker

For more information on Burbio's School Tracker data, contact dennis@burbio.com

In-Person Index for K-12 Public Schools

Last Updated: 6-29-21

(In-Person Index weights % virtual instruction at 0, % hybrid instruction (2-3 days per week in-person) at 50 and % traditional (5-days in person) at 100). More on our Methodology


2020/2021 SCHOOL YEAR IN REVIEW

School Learning Mode By State

The chart below shows the average in-person index for each state over the course of the academic year. The District of Columbia, not shown, would be last, behind California. To the points made in the piece in The 74, nineteen of the twenty states with the highest in-person indexes for the year have Republican governors, the exception being Louisiana, and nine of the ten lowest states have Democratic governors, the exception being Maryland.




School Learning Mode by Grade Levels

Below is our In-person Index by grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12 over the course of the year. K-5 students had the highest in-person index all year, and the gap became widest in the early Spring when "Always Virtual' states and big cities started returning to in-person and often brought in K-5 for in-person weeks ahead of older students. The gap narrowed as the year went on.


School Learning Plans by Urban vs Non-Urban

One of the defining characteristics of in-person learning in 2020/21 was the difference in urban and non-urban learning plans. We took a look at the Top 50 metro areas and measured the in-person learning index for their city school district, and compared it to the rest of the country. The following chart is weighted for student population over the course of the year.


School Learning Plan Changes Throughout the Year

In our Labor Day release we noted that in early September over 60% of US students were attending schools that were virtual only. Only 18% of US K-12 students were attending traditional schools during that period. The map indicates the high concentration of in-person learning in the Sun Belt and the Rockies:

Over the course of the Fall, districts across the Midwest and the Northeast, along with additional Sun Belt districts, opened, and the virtual figure fell to 37%. As Covid rates rose around the country, we noted in our November 9th report that "introduction of in-person learning has slowed to an almost imperceptible level" and districts across the Northeast and Midwest in particular began to signal issues around staying open for in-person. The high point of in-person learning for the year to date - and for the next several months - is seen on our November 10th map:

Over the holidays rising Covid 19 rates, concern about holiday gatherings, and quarantining rules triggered widespread shutdown across the US and our virtual number rose to 55%. Our report on January 11th opens with a good survey of the previous two months, but we did note that many districts had plans to return students to the classroom later in January - which proceeded to occur. In our blog of January 25th, as the virtual figure continued to drop, we coined the term "Always Virtual" to describe states (in particular California, Oregon, Washington, Maryland, Virginia, and New Mexico) and cities that had never returned students to the classroom. Here is the map from January 10th.

By the time of our February 8th blog post virtual numbers had dropped to early November levels. In general, the same districts that were open for in-person learning in early November had reopened. That left the "Always Virtual" states and cities, who proceeded to reopen gradually over the course of the Spring. Here is the map of early June:


Last Updated: 6-29-21

Burbio actively monitors 1,200 districts, including the 200 largest school districts in the US.  District plans are reviewed every 72 hours to identify changes. School districts in the data set are a mix of sizes and distributed nationally in such a way to represent local decision-making across the country and averages are weighted to reflect student populations.  For more details on methodology or detailed breakdown of county information email dennis@burbio.com.

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