Health Team

Where the top US school districts stand with virtual vs. in-person learning

Posted January 27, 2021 12:31 p.m. EST

— In the effort to balance health, jobs and quality education, the nation's biggest school districts are divided on how to teach students this semester.

Of the 20 largest school districts:

-- 9 are teaching entirely online.

-- 8 offer fully in-person learning and a choice of fully online learning. (Several of these districts are in Florida, where the governor ordered schools to offer classroom learning.)

-- 2 have a hybrid plan, with some virtual and some classroom instruction.

-- 1 has a combination of plans, depending on the infection rates.

Here's how each of those school districts are teaching, ranked by size:

New York City Public Schools

-- Elementary schools have a hybrid plan.

-- Middle schools and high schools are all online.

Los Angeles Unified School District

-- All instruction is online only.

-- The superintendent said he wants all teachers to get vaccinated.

Chicago Public Schools

-- All classes are currently online.

-- Elementary school students are scheduled to return February 1, but the teachers' union is pushing back.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools

-- Families choose which type of learning they prefer, fully online or fully in-person.

Clark County School District in Nevada

-- The fifth-largest district is expediting its plan to bring students back for in-person learning after a rise in student suicides.

Broward County Public Schools in Florida

-- Families have a choice between fully online or fully in-person learning.

Houston Independent School District

-- Instruction can be fully in-person or fully online.

Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida

-- Families choose between fully online or fully in-person learning.

Orange County Public Schools in Florida

-- Families have a choice between fully online or fully in-person learning.

The School District of Palm Beach County in Florida

Parents have the choice of enrolling their children in the following:

-- Brick and mortar: Students attend in-person classes five days a week on campus

-- Distance learning: Students learn remotely from teachers

-- Palm Beach virtual school: Students participate in a self-paced learning guided by virtual teachers

Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia

-- All instruction is online due to coronavirus infection rates in the area.

Hawaii State Department of Education (Hawaii public schools)

-- Instruction plans are based on each island's infection rates.

-- As of this month, various islands had in-person learning, at-home learning or a combination.

Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia

-- Families choose between fully online or fully in-person learning.

Wake County Public School System in North Carolina

-- Instruction will be entirely online through mid-February.

Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland

-- Teaching will be online only until small groups of students return for in-person instruction on March 15.

Dallas Independent School District

-- Middle school and high school students have a hybrid plan.

-- Fully in-person learning is available for elementary school students.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina

-- All instruction is online.

-- Kindergarten through eighth grades are scheduled to start classroom learning February 15.

-- High school students are due to return to classrooms February 22.

The School District of Philadelphia

-- All instruction is online.

-- The superintendent has said he hopes to bring students from kindergarten through second grade back to classrooms in February.

Prince George's County Public Schools in Maryland

-- All instruction is online.

-- Employees are tentatively scheduled to start getting vaccinated February 1.

-- "We will reassess our reopening plans in mid-February," school district CEO Monica Goldson said.

Duval County Public Schools in Florida

-- Families have a choice between fully in-person or fully online learning.

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