Mar 1, 2021 - Health

More schools are reopening in the U.S.

Principal Ben Geballe (C) helps students settle into a classroom at Sun Yat Sen M.S. 131 on February 25, 2021 in New York City.
Students settle into a classroom in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

More than 72% of K-12 students are now attending schools that offer in-person or hybrid models of learning.

The big picture: The U.S. is seeing an almost-universal return of schools that were in-person as of November, as well as a gradual return in parts of the country that had been virtual for almost a year.

  • Elementary schools in Ohio, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Maryland and Virginia began in-person instruction this week, after being closed since last March.

Background: With proper precautions, the CDC said it is possible for schools to conduct some form of in-person learning even with various levels of community spread.

By the numbers: About 27.5% of K-12 students are attending schools that are virtual only, down from 31.1% last week, according to a tracker maintained by Burbio.

  • About 44.7% of K-12 students attend schools that offer traditional learning settings and 27.8% go to schools that offer hybrid models.
  • Over half of K-5 students are attending schools that offer traditional in-person learning. 

Yes, but: There are still several districts like those in Pittsburgh and Kalamazoo that are waiting until the fall to reopen.

  • And some reopened districts may still have a large percentage of students opting out of in-person learning.

The bottom line: New coronavirus cases were down 20% last week, and while logistics on reopening strategies still have many unanswered questions, schools are seizing the opportunity to gradually move students, especially young children, from the computer to the classroom.

Methodology: Burbio monitors 1,200 districts, including the 200 largest districts in the U.S. 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. 

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