In the Philadelphia school district where nearly all

In the Philadelphia school district, where nearly all students are from low-income families, kindergarten enrollment dropped by more than a quarter between the fall of 2019 and the fall of 2020. Surveys conducted in the three cities where kindergarten enrollment declined the most -Philadelphia and Honolulu, showed how difficult it is to educate elementary school children remotely and how parents don’t trust their schools to make the transition. At Linapuni Elementary School, located in a large public housing complex in Honolulu, the cuts are even more alarming, with kindergarten enrollment cut in half, from 65 students in 2019 to 32 in 2020, the Times reports. Hawaii’s schools were almost completely decentralized last fall, and they saw one of the steepest declines in kindergarten enrollment statewide, down 14 percent from fall 2019 to fall 2020. While some of these schools lost students even before the pandemic, the decline was much more pronounced between fall 2019 and fall 2020. But by the end of the school year, only 20 percent of the missing students had returned by any means, online or in person. Although staff were again knocking on doors to enroll students, only 38 kindergarten and 37 bridge students were enrolled by July 20, while 65 kindergarten and 71 bridge students will be enrolled in fall 2019. Although these programs are small, the pandemic has spurred their growth, even though these schools are performing extremely poorly in reading and math compared to traditional schools, the 2019 study found. In Jackson, Mississippi, after the school district began offering online-only classes in the fall of 2020, many employees had to find someone to watch their preschoolers, whether they attended a distance school or not. In states surveyed by the Times, virtual schools added 20,000 preschoolers. The months of school closures affected nearly every student, and families of all income and education levels tried to help their children fill in the gaps. Eric Sagara, Justin Issawi, Julia Ingraham, Charlie Hoffs, Dilcia Mercedes, Justin Mayo, Elizabeth Huffaker, Christine DeLianne, Cheryl Phillips and Thomas Dee of the Big Local News Project and the Stanford University Graduate School of Education, and Alicia Parlapiano and Jugal K. When the pandemic disrupted life in the United States, over a million children who should have been enrolled in these schools failed to show up, either in person or online. Urban schools in particular, with disproportionate numbers of low-income students of color, were forced to close their classrooms for extended periods of time. All of their kindergarten students go to first grade in the fall, “she” said.