Covid-19 wreaks havoc on local school populations

Michigan schools’ enrollment fell by 53,200 students this fall as the Coronavirus pandemic raged.

The attached graphic shows Allegan County losses totalling 903 students, according to CEPI, as reported by area UNISERV Director Christine Anderson.
Anderson said, “As coronavirus cases skyrocketed this fall, tens of thousands of students didn’t show up to Michigan public schools as expected.”

Allegan County data, as shown by the accompanying chart, showed Allegan with the largest decrease, 240 students, or 10 percent. Wayland showed a drop of 143, or 5%. Hopkins was down by 117 students, or 7%.

Martin was the only district in the county that showed an increase, by 33 students, or 6%.

Wayland still has the county’s second largest student population at 2,912, behind Hamilton’s 3,056. Plainwell has 2,652 and Otsego 2,284.

Rolls shrank 3.7% statewide, according to unaudited enrollment data newly compiled by the state. That’s twice as many students as the state lost during 2009-2010, the last year of the Great Recession, which was the largest drop in more than a decade.

Anderson added, “The figures underscore the disruptive effect of the pandemic on thousands of students’ educations. Some families may have moved during the pandemic because of job loss or housing instability, while others are home schooling their children. But many students are not accounted for, and educators worry that they aren’t attending school at all.

Michigan State Superintendent of Schools Michael Rice said, “I think there are going to be some children who we discern are likely not being educated.”

Statewide enrollments have declined steadily in recent decades as Michigan’s population declines. This year, though, the enrollment declines are sharper and widespread


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