Students in Hampton Roads headed back to the classroom in September, and it looked closer to “normal” than the past two school years did. The COVID-19 pandemic made a generational impact on education in many ways – one of which was a decline in public school enrollment. However, the school enrollment data for the last five years indicates that many schools were already seeing a decline. It’s clear that the pandemic greatly affected the 2020-2021 school year, but there may be other factors at play which contributed to the longer trend. Most Hampton Roads school districts showed a significant increase in homeschooled students which likely affected enrollment. Further studies would be needed to explore this trend in depth. Overall, 72% of schools showed some decline in enrollment over the last five school years. All school districts had a decline in enrollment of up to 11%, except for York County, which increased by 0.5%.
For the October Map of the Month, we show the individual schools and symbolize them by the percent increase or decrease in enrollment between the 2017-2018 and 2021-22 school years. Schools with an increase in enrollment are shown with a teal arrow and those with a decrease in enrollment are shown with a dark pink arrow. Larger circles show schools with either a large percent increase or decrease in enrollment. Click on an individual school to see a graph of the enrollment numbers over time and to see the percent change over five years. The schools can also be filtered by district to isolate the view.
There were some school closures which were removed from the data. There were also a few school consolidations, shifting school zones, and new schools that opened which affected the overall trend, but those schools tend to be outliers for percent change.
Public School Enrollment by School Division between 2017-2018 and 2021-2022
Homeschooled Students by School Division between 2017-2018 and 2021-2022
Data source: Virginia Department of Education Fall Membership Reports & Homeschooled Students Reports. Enrollment data is collected each year on September 30.