Closure numbers went up slightly this week as we started to see staffing issues and “mental health” virtual periods enter the mix. Districts across the country are making vaccines available to 5-11 year olds, and mask mandates continue to gradually be removed. More below.
1. School closures showed a slight increase as we have identified 675 districts (versus 636 last week) across 3,224 (from 2,462) schools cumulatively impacted so far this Fall. The school count rose because of district-wide closures related to mental health, in particular some large districts in the Mid-Atlantic (more below). A “closure event” is either an entire district closing all its schools (that would be one closure event) or an individual school closing within a district:
2. We have identified a trend of schools closing for mental-health breaks that emerged in the past ten days. While still small, it is a growing number of districts across multiple states. Among the examples:
Wake County, NC school district, with just under 200 schools, are closed on Nov 12th for a “day of reflection and preparation.”
The number of Top 200 districts with mask mandates dropped from 135 to 129, from a high of 150 on October 1st. In the Top 500 the number dropped from 347 to 341, from a high of 389 on October 15th. Districts in Florida removing mandates for all students include Duval,Hernando, and Monroe, plus Miami-Dade removed the mandate for high school students.
Connecticut’s new “Screen and Stay” initiative allows unvaccinated, asymptomatic close contacts to stay in school with no reference to required testing in the governor’s announcement.