Report: Nearly 90% of Christian Schools Opened Academic Year with In-Person Instruction

child going to school in-person with mask
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A report released by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) demonstrates that 90 percent of Christian schools opened the 2020-2021 academic year with in-person instruction as planned, despite the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday, ACSI announced the release of the data from its nationwide survey of Christian schools’ responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Close to 90% of Christian schools delivered on their promises to open with in-person instruction for the 2020-2021 academic year,” Dr. Lynn Swaner, ACSI chief strategy and innovation officer and the report’s lead author, said, adding the findings suggest Christian schools successfully adapted to the pandemic.

Swaner said two-thirds of the Christian institutions surveyed also offered remote learning as well as in-person instruction.

Topics covered in the report included enrollment trends, planning remote learning and discounts, special education, changes to sports and other extracurricular activities, and teacher well-being.

ACSI observed that, according to the survey, the Christian schools’ reopening plans placed safety first as coronavirus modifications were implemented with guidance from medical personnel, states, and local health departments.

“Most schools reported zero to minimal disruption from the spread of coronavirus in their school community,” ACSI reported.

In addition, most of the Christian schools noted either steady or increased enrollment during the pandemic period.

“Even though many schools reported minimal enrollment losses, over 80% reported that they gained students they might not have if it was not for the virus,” ACIS explained, adding that more than a third of the schools surveyed experienced increases in enrollment between the opening of school and mid-November.

“Qualitative data suggest that this uptick in new student enrollment at Christian schools is due to families’ dissatisfaction with the distance learning or limited on-campus instruction offered by other area schools,” the association observed.

“This is exciting news, and confirms what we already know—that Christian schools are delivering on their value proposition by providing a high-quality, Christ-centered educational experience that puts the needs of families and students first,” commented ACSI president, Dr. Larry Taylor.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told FOX Business’s Maria Bartiromo Thursday that teachers’ unions are continuing pressure to keep public schools closed as the pandemic continues.

President Donald Trump and Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and DeVos, have all called for schools to remain open, noting the virus has not been found to be transmitted in that setting.

“The only reason kids are not back to school in person in too many places is because the teachers’ unions have been standing in the way and have been playing politics with children’s lives,” DeVos said.

Many states and public school districts have chosen to end in-person learning and switch to remote classes, which some children do not attend, due to a lack of supervision and/or connectivity issues.

Parents appear to be making other choices, however, as public schools fail to provide in-person learning.

A poll released in April by school choice advocate EdChoice found 52 percent of parents had a more favorable view of homeschooling, with 28 percent labeling their opinion as “much more favorable” and 24 percent stating their view was “somewhat more favorable.”

In August, Gallup reported the number of homeschooling families in the entire United States had doubled from five percent in 2019 to ten percent in 2020.

Gallup stated it defined homeschooling in its survey as “not enrolled in a formal school, but taught at home” so as to distinguish homeschooling from remote learning programs provided by schools.

The Catholic Herald reported recently that Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, as well as those in Chicago, Detroit, New Jersey, and Virginia, are all seeing an increase in enrollment because these schools are providing in-person learning.


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