School closures drop for the first time this year | Education News

The number of public schools that experienced disruptions, such as temporary closures and returns to remote learning, fell to 4,473 last week, down 38% from the previous week, when more than 7,000 schools recorded disruption.

The slowdown in school disruption marks the first week in which the number of temporary closures and pivots to virtual learning has decreased since schools reopened after the winter holidays in early January.

Although the comparison is somewhat uneven due to the fact that schools were not in session Monday to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the analysis by the Burbio school monitoring site concludes that “the trend seems clear that disruption is slowing down”.

At its peak, around 10% of schools experienced disruptions last week, which stemmed from infections and exposures – and subsequent isolations and quarantines – leaving schools understaffed and increasing absenteeism rates. students.

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Since the start of the calendar year, the vast majority of schools have continued to operate in person, five days a week without major hitches – although individual lessons within schools have been halted, as has learning for individual students who must self-isolate or quarantine after a positive test or exposure.

As it stands, about 95% of all schools are open to in-person learning, which includes schools in the nation’s three largest school systems, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — though the latter comes after a week of deadlock. earlier this month between city officials and union leaders who barred students from classrooms for five days.

The Biden administration continues to pressure schools to stay open at all costs and announced last week that it would make 10 million COVID-19 tests available to schools each month to help them do so. . Over the past month, the White House has also backed stay-testing policies that allow teachers and exposed children to stay in school, shortened periods of isolation and quarantine, and unlocked federal aid for schools to help prevent staff shortages.

The president even took the time during a press conference marking his first year in office to chastise the media for focusing on the closures and pointed out that the overwhelming majority of schools were open.

“It’s always going to be front page news,” Biden said of local school closures. “It will always be the top of the news.”

“Very few schools are closing,” he said.

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