Virginia Public School Enrollments Fail to Rebound From Pre-Pandemic Levels | Richmond Local News
âI think it’s important to point out that a good percentage of the drop in enrollment is in the early years,â said Jon Becker, associate professor of educational leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University. âThere are many possible explanations for a drop in registrations. It’s not just parents angry with public schools for the way they handled schooling during the pandemic. “
In the Richmond area, Chesterfield and Hanover counties rebounded from registrations ahead of the pandemic. Chesterfield, which lost nearly 2,000 students in the 2020 school year – when all school systems in the region except Hanover practically started – has seen an increase of 2,000 students.
Hanover, which lost around 1,000 students at the start of the pandemic, has seen an increase of around 300 students, from 16,519 students in 2020-2021 to 16,865 students this school year. In the 2019-2020 school year, the district had more than 17,000 students, according to state data. Hanover was the only school district in the Richmond area to have an in-person school five days a week at the start of the 2021 school year.
The figures for Richmond public schools are largely unclear. On paper, it appears that 7,000 students have left RPS, increasing the number of students from 28,000 to 21,000.
But the vast majority of that drop, Superintendent Jason Kamras said, is likely due to the severing of ties with Virginia Virtual Academy, a virtual school operated by K12 Inc., for which RPS served as the tax agent. The Virginia Virtual Academy is not the same as Virtual Virginia, a program run by the state Department of Education.