K-12 School Opening Tracker

Virtual vs. In-Person Learning for K-12 Public Schools Across the US

Burbio.com is an industry leader aggregating school, government, library and community event information for delivery over mobile, web, video, email and voice. Burbio actively monitors districts representing over 35,000 schools, 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.

This is Dennis from Burbio. Below is our weekly update. Feel free to share. For more information contact dennis@burbio.com

As of September 10, roughly 98% of U.S. K-12 public schools have started.

This week:

  • School closures continue to increase
  • Virtual learning options in numerous schools nationwide are in review
  • Covid-19 cases in schools have increased in higher numbers than reported last year
  • Mask mandates remain in flux in numerous states and schools
  • School bus shortages continue to drive disruption

Burbio K-12 School Opening Tracker

Burbio K-12 School Mask Policy Tracker

School Closure Trends

To date, Burbio has identified just under 1,700 in-person school closures (up from just under 1,400 last week) across 386 districts (from 278) in 38 states (from 35). 

  • In 55% of the disruptions, schools have gone to virtual instruction (from 52%). 39% of schools have closed entirely for a period (from 40%), while just under 4% have delayed school start date and just over 2% have moved to a hybrid format. 
  • Average school closure is 8.1 days (versus 8.7 days from last week) at the district level. When "weighted" by number of schools, the average school closure is 7.2 days (from 7.3). This indicates that when districts close more schools at once (which tend to be bigger districts) they are closing in-person for shorter periods of time than districts that are closing a smaller number of schools.
  • While closures are often district-wide, they are more often a subset of the schools in a district.
  • The chart below shows the percentage of closures by elementary, middle, and high schools being closed when schools are closed individually, compared to the percentage of those schools in the entire K-12 universe.  So far high school and middle schools are being shut for in-person at a higher percentage than they represent of the total universe. 

Burbio School Closure Trends Map September 13

  • Most of the closures Burbio has identified are on a "trailing" basis, further compounded this past week by Labor Day which resulted in a shorter week.  With that, here is an overview of closures Burbio has picked up so far based on when the closure started.
    Burbio School Disruption by Type of School

  • The chart below reflects the number of days from the first day of the school year to when a school or district closed for in-person learning. This chart also shows that the majority of schools are closing in the third or fourth week of school. The importance of this trend will fade further into the school year, however it is worth nothing at the moment.

September 13 Burbio Closures

  • The timing of closures in relation to the first day of school remains similar to last week, with the bulk of closures still occurring between three and four weeks after a district opens. 

September 13 Number of Days Chart

  • Over the past few weeks, Burbio has seen a steady increase in mask mandates in the Top 200 districts as shown in the map below.

Top 200 Districts with Mask Mandates September

States Reviewing the Role of Virtual Learning

States and districts are grappling with the role of virtual education on various fronts.

  • In Texas, the governor signed a much-anticipated bill funding virtual education for independent school districts in that state.  
  • Fairfax County Schools in Virginia are exploring options to create a limited streaming option for students in quarantine.  
  • Pike County Schools in Kentucky launched a virtual academy for K-8. 
  • Burbio continues to see stories about the impact of state-level restrictions on the number of days districts or schools can "go virtual" on local decisions around when to suspend in-person learning and what to do in its place.  

    Schools Note a Significant Rise in Cases Versus Last Year

    Numerous schools across the country are recording larger number of Covid-19 cases than they saw last year.

    Mask Policy Update

    • In Ohio 383 districts representing 40.5% of K-12 students are mask optional while 183 districts representing 45% of students require masks, with the balance having a mix. 
    • In Kentucky the state legislature overrode the governor's veto to eliminate the state's mask mandate.
    • In Oklahoma a court ruling that allows districts to require masks also allows students to opt out for any reason, essentially restricting any districts' ability to mandate masks.

    In Other News

    • Los Angeles Unified School District is requiring vaccinations for all eligible students by January.
    • School bus driving shortages continue with schools offering cash incentives to parents to drive their child, such as in Baltimore where they will pay $250 per month, as well as mileage reimbursement as seen in Hawaii.
    • In Kanawha County in West Virginia, a bus driving test event was held to help mitigate hesitations or feelings of intimidation when it came to driving a school bus. This initiative was created in hopes of acquiring more interest in drivers.

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    The purple "School Opening Tracker" map below indicates virtual vs. in-person learning for K-12 public schools across the US.

    Burbio's K-12 School Opening Tracker

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