Virginia Public School Enrollment Fails To Bounce From Pre-Pandemic Levels | Richmond Local News
“I think it’s important to point out that a good percentage of the drop in enrollment is in the early years,” said Jon Becker, associate professor of educational leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University. “There are a lot of possible explanations for declining enrollment. It’s not just parents angry with public schools over how they handled schooling during the pandemic.”
In the Richmond area, Chesterfield and Hanover rebounded from registrations ahead of the pandemic. Chesterfield, which lost nearly 2,000 students in the 2020 school year, the year in which all school systems in the region except Hanover virtually started, has seen an increase of 2,000 students .
Hanover County, which lost around 1,000 students at the start of the pandemic, has seen an increase of around 300 students this year, 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 decline, said Superintendent Jason Kamras, is likely due to the severing of ties with Virginia Virtual Academy, a virtual school operated by K-12, which RPS funded financially. The Virginia Virtual Academy is not the same as Virtual Virginia, a program run by the state Department of Education.