December 6, 2022

Education For Live

Masters Of Education

COVID still affects Vermont school enrollment trends

7 min read

Essex resident Katina Barnier chose to homeschool her three kids last school year due to safety concerns and the unknowns of COVID-19. This school year, the kids went back to public school. 

“Last years homeschooling was 100% difficult being the mom, the teacher and working full time,” she wrote in an email.

Since the pandemic began, families have exercised more choice about how their kids will learn, sometimes from one year to the next. Trends over the last two years show a rise in homeschooling and independent schooling, especially in the 2020-21 school year. And, with many choosing remote school last year, families may be more willing to try different types of schooling a year at a time to discover what works best.

A third grade classroom at Lake Champlain Waldorf School works on weights and measures, fall 2021.

Here is a look at the trends across the Vermont educational system from the past two years. 

Vermont public school enrollment shows decline

Before the pandemic, Vermont’s public school enrollment was 83,309 in the 2019-20 school year. Vermont’s public school enrollment has been shrinking for decades, including a decline of 450 students just before the pandemic. In the school year after the pandemic hit, the student population declined by 4,381, or about 5%. 

This school year’s enrollment data isn’t available yet, even though schools started reporting their enrollment figures to the Agency of Education at the beginning of October. Final numbers may not be available until January.

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