The Return to Learn Tracker (R2L), developed by the American Enterprise Institute in partnership with the College Crisis Initiative of Davidson College, monitors over 8,500 public school districts’ instructional statuses on a weekly basis. The tracker examines which schools are offering fully in-person, hybrid, and fully remote instruction and analyzes instructional status across various district and county demographics.
Last Data Update: April 26, 2021— see key findings from update —
- For the first time since the pandemic began, “fully in-person” is the largest category of instruction: As of April 26, 49% of districts are fully in-person, 4% are fully remote, and about 48% of districts are offering some type of hybrid instruction.
- Stark differences persist by counties’ vaccine hesitancy and mask usage.Districts in counties where people are hesitant to take the vaccine are more likely to be fully in person. As of April 26, 62% of districts in counties with self-reported high vaccine hesitancy are fully-person, compared to 36% of districts with low vaccine hesitancy. This pattern has persisted since the beginning of the school year.
- There are also large differences by mask usage. Districts in counties with lower rates of mask usage are more likely to be fully in person. As of April 26, 61% of districts in counties with self-reported low mask usage are fully in-person, compared to 37% of districts in counties with high mask usage.
- Ten states have at least three-quarters of districts offering fully in-person instruction: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, and South Carolina.
- California saw a dramatic decrease in remote-only districts: As of April 26, about 6% of districts are fully remote, which is down from over half at the beginning of March. This gives more Hispanic students the option for in-person instruction. 93% of Hispanic students now have the option for fully in-person or hybrid instruction, compared to just 70% at the beginning of March.
Change In Instructional Status
Learn more about this chart. | More information on variable definitions.
Change in Instructional Status by Majority Race Districts
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Unlike the charts above, these charts examine differences for small subsets of districts that have majority-Hispanic and majority-Black student populations. About 1 in 10 districts are majority-Hispanic districts, and 47% of Hispanic students in R2L data attend school in these districts. About 1 in 20 districts are majority-Black districts, and 26% of Black students in the R2L data attend school in these districts.
There’s much more to understand about differences by race. Click the button below to view instructional status by race over time and percent of students by race attending remote, hybrid, and in-person districts.
Bi-Weekly Change in Instructional StatusLearn more about this chart.
Nov 2 Apr 26
COVID-19 Cases and Instructional OfferingsLearn more about this chart. Learn more about this chart.
State RankingsLearn more about this chart.
Our goal is to provide a fundamental, up-to-date baseline of school districts’ current reopening plans and how they change during the COVID-19 crisis. This tracker categorizes instructional models for about 8,500 school districts nationwide and regularly monitors how each district changes between categories. Accessible, accurate knowledge of districts’ plans is foundational for developing strategies of how to best respond to the pandemic. We hope these data will serve school communities as they face ongoing decisions, provide the basic knowledge necessary for shaping policy across states, and allow other researchers to more accurately study how COVID-19 is upending and changing schools.
We adhere to high standards in research methodology and practices, pursuing rigorous transparency in our approach to this work.
This is a live data collection. Current and prior categorizations of districts may be misclassified. As such, we will be doing constant quality assurance over the upcoming months. Publications of previous data may change with additional corrections to the data. If you would like to submit a correction request, please contact us. Please find a thorough description of R2L methodology and data here.
AEI would like to thank The Achelis and Bodman Foundation for its generous support that helped make the Return to Learn Tracker possible.