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Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Public schools across the country are seeing a drop in enrollment numbers as schools have shifted to remote and hybrid learning programs to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York Times reports.

The state of play: Some parents are opting to keep their children at home or finding models that provide in-person coursework.

  • Glenn Koocher, head of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, told the NYT that some parents are enrolling their children in charter, private and parochial schools as an alternative.
  • Private schools are seeing increases in registration, as they started the academic year with in-person instruction, per NYT.

By the numbers:

  • In Massachusetts, public school enrollment dropped by nearly 4% this fall, losing more than 37,000 students, the Boston Globe writes.
  • New York public schools lost 31,000 students compared with last year, according to Chalkbeat.
  • Virginia’s Fairfax County lost over 8,700 students since last year, while Maryland’s Montgomery County decreased enrollment by 3,700 students, according to preliminary figures cited by the Washington Post.
  • In California, the Los Angeles Unified School District and Orange County were down by 11,000 and 8,000 students, respectively, in October, NPR reports.
  • Wisconsin public school enrollment dropped by 3%, according to Wisconsin Public Radio.

What they're saying: "We attribute a lot of this to the pandemic," Karl Streaker, director of student services at Carroll County Public Schools in Maryland — which saw a drop of 777 students — told the Baltimore Sun. "We have experienced declining enrollment in Carroll County before, but I think the rate of this decline in such a short period … is not consistent with anything we experienced."

  • "As our nation continues to fight the spread of COVID-19, states across the country are seeing changes in K–12 enrollment as families make decisions about the safest and most effective learning environments for their children," Chris Reykdal, Washington state's superintendent of public instruction, told NPR.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

NYC set to restart indoor dining in February, weddings in March

Outdoor dining in New York City in January. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that if the current coronavirus positivity in New York City holds, indoor dining will reopen at 25% capacity on Feb. 14, one of the busiest dining days of the year.

Why it matters: The forced closure of indoor dining in December caused major backlash, as New York's struggling restaurant industry had already been hit hard by pandemic restrictions. Restaurants will still be required to close at 1o p.m.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

Ex-CDC director Tom Frieden on the next COVID-19 vaccines

Americans fortunate enough to receive COVID vaccines now, outside of clinical trials, are getting shots made by either Pfizer or Moderna. But newly released data from Novavax and Johnson & Johnson suggests that more vaccines could be on the way, with J&J's requiring a single dose.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the news and why it matters with Tom Frieden, former head of the CDC, as COVID-19 variants spread globally.