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A Rising Number Of U.S. Children Have The Option Of In-Person School

By Election Day, more than 60% of U.S. K-12 public school students will be attending schools that offer in-person learning at least a few days a week, an updated tracker finds.

More and more districts are opening up school buildings this fall, even as coronavirus infection rates remain high in most states. That's according to the latest release from Burbio, a company that aggregates school and community calendars from the Web.

As of Election Day, the report says:

  • 37.8% of students will be attending schools that only offer virtual learning.
  • 35.7% of students will be attending schools offering traditional, in-person learning every day.
  • The remainder, 26.5% will be attending schools that offer a hybrid schedule of two or three in-person days per week.
  • From Labor Day to Election Day, Burbio calculates the percentage of students with access to at least some in-person school will have grown by 22 percentage points, from 38% to 60%. There are large regional variations, with states like Texas and Florida offering full-time, in-person learning to more than 75% of students, while California, Washington, Maryland, Oregon and Hawaii have more than 90% of their students learning only online.

    These numbers don't necessarily speak to the full picture of how children are learning. That's because a percentage of students choose virtual learning even where in-person school is offered. For example, New York City, where schools are hybrid, recently announced that only 280,000 students are attending in person, out of 1.1 million enrolled.

    Burbio says it gathers its information directly from school websites across a national sample of 1,200 districts in all 50 states, including the 200 largest districts in the country.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Anya Kamenetz is an education correspondent at NPR. She joined NPR in 2014, working as part of a new initiative to coordinate on-air and online coverage of learning. Since then the NPR Ed team has won a 2017 Edward R. Murrow Award for Innovation, and a 2015 National Award for Education Reporting for the multimedia national collaboration, the Grad Rates project.