71 percent of Louisiana K-12 students are back in classrooms full-time

That’s the highest percentage since the beginning of the school year

(Stock photo/Getty Images)

As of Tuesday, 71 percent of Louisiana’s K-12 students are attending classes face-to-face, a five percent increase since the end of the 2020 fall semester and the highest percentage since the beginning of the school year, according to a state education official.

Seventy percent of Louisiana’s K-12 students would represent 518,612 students in the state. Another 20 percent of K-12 students (144,394) are attending classes online only and the other 9 percent (69,552) are learning in an in-person/virtual hybrid model.

“(The percentage of Louisiana students learning face-to-face) has been in the mid-to-low 60’s for all of this year and much of the fall,” said Ted Beasley, a spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Education.

The largest share of schools doing in-person learning are primary schools, as 90 percent of Louisiana kindergarteners are doing face-to-face learning while the percentage of 1st-5th graders learning in classrooms ranges from 81 to 86 percent. The percentage of 9th-12th graders in face-to-face learning ranges from 54 to 63 percent.

Only six other states have a higher percentage of schools back in face-to-face learning, according to The American Enterprise Institute’s Return 2 Learn Tracker website.

“I’m proud to see our state helping lead the way in our nation for in-person instruction,” Louisiana State Superintendent Cade Brumley said in a statement to the Illuminator.

Beasley said the education department is “confident we will see more families provided the option for in-person learning” as the semester goes on, but doesn’t have a specific target number for reopening. 

“We want all families to have the option of in-person instruction as soon as safely possible in their community,” Beasley said.

On Feb. 18, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced teachers and school staff were added to the list of people in Louisiana eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Since then, school systems across the state have been partnering with local vaccine providers to sign up teachers for vaccinations if they want it. Last week, vaccination eligibility was opened up to all Louisianians 16 years and older.

As of Tuesday, 1,273,573 Louisianians have gotten their first shot and 834,087 are fully vaccinated.

The latest report of the Louisiana Survey found that 56 percent of parents felt their child learned less over the past year than they would have if not for the pandemic. Still 77 percent said they were satisfied with the instruction provided by their child’s school during the pandemic and 21 percent of parents were dissatisfied.

“Educators across Louisiana have done hero’s work to create safe environments for children while also fulfilling their responsibility to provide students with a daily education,” Brumley said in a statement to the Illuminator. “The successful reopening of our schools is thanks to our teachers, leaders and families working together with a student-first mindset.”