Where schools are reopening in the US

Alabama

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Districts will make the decision on whether to open school buildings. The state board of education encourages that all schools provide, at a minimum, access to both traditional and remote learning throughout the 2020-21 school year.

Alaska

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Each school district will decide when and if to reopen buildings. The state departments of education and health created a framework and guidance to help districts as they decide how to provide instruction.

Arizona

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

School districts, in conjunction with their local health departments, must consider benchmarks on new cases, diagnostic test percent positivity, and COVID-19 related hospitalizations to determine when in-person classes can begin again. Starting Aug. 17, districts are required to provide “free on-site learning opportunities” and support services for students who need access to a computer or a supervised place to be during the day, even if the school system has opted for full-time distance learning.

Arkansas

State-ordered in-person instruction available part-time or full-time*

Education Secretary Johnny Key issued guidance Aug. 5 that requires districts to offer in-person instruction five days a week when classes resume. Districts were required to open their schools as soon as Aug. 24 and as late as Aug. 26.

*Orders include public statements or actions from governors and state officials. They may be subject to waivers or overridden by other officials.

California

State-ordered regional closure in effect

Each local district will decide when to open, and whether to reopen buildings or conduct instruction virtually. However, on July 17, Gov. Gavin Newsom said that schools must provide instruction remotely unless their counties have been off the state’s coronavirus “watchlist” for 14 consecutive days. The state issued detailed guidance on things districts should consider before reopening.

*Orders include public statements or actions from governors and state officials. They may be subject to waivers or overridden by other officials.

Colorado

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Reopening plans are made locally, but whether classes can start in-person will ultimately be determined by state and local public health orders in August. The reopening guidance for schools put out by the state recommends that districts have a variety of plans in place in addition to in-person classes, including teaching students in small groups and through distance learning.

Connecticut

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Districts were asked to plan for all students to return to school for full-time, in-person instruction this fall as long as public health conditions support face-to-face teaching.

Delaware

Only hybrid or remote instruction allowed

On Aug. 5, Gov. John Carney announced schools would reopen with a mix of in-person and remote instruction, based on “minimal to moderate” viral spread among communities. (Private schools so far plan to follow the guidance as well.) The state will provide free at-home COVID-19 testing for teachers and staff before schools reopen and regularly thereafter, with community sites also set up for students to be tested in the weeks just before the start of school.

District of Columbia

State ordered closure in effect (including states where openings are delayed)

The District of Columbia Public Schools will continue with distance learning for at least the first term of the 2020-21 school year, from Aug. 31 through Nov. 6, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced.

*Orders include public statements or actions from governors and state officials. They may be subject to waivers or overridden by other officials.

Florida

State-ordered in-person instruction available part-time or full-time*

A state court judge on Aug. 24 issued a temporary injunction blocking a state emergency order requiring all brick-and-mortar schools to open at least five days a week by Aug. 31. However, a Florida state appeals court on Aug. 28 issued a stay of the trial court judge’s injunction, putting the state’s emergency order back in place. The appellate court is considering an expedited appeal on the merits of the dispute sometime in early September.

*Orders include public statements or actions from governors and state officials. They may be subject to waivers or overridden by other officials.

Georgia

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Districts will decide whether to open school buildings, open them on a limited basis as part of a staggered schedule, or use an all-remote schedule. Those decisions should be informed by whether students and/or staff have been directly exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19.

Hawaii

State-ordered regional closure in effect

As a statewide district, Hawaii schools reopened on Aug. 17. In some areas, schools may offer a blend of in-person and remote learning, but in others, due to rising coronavirus rates, they are allowed to teach only remotely.

*Orders include public statements or actions from governors and state officials. They may be subject to waivers or overridden by other officials.

Idaho

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Schools are expected to welcome students for in-person instruction this fall, while adhering to public health guidelines and maintaining options for blended learning for students who don’t return and in case of a return to full-time remote learning.

Illinois

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Districts can decide whether to open school buildings, following health and safety guidance from the state. However, the Illinois State Board of Education has “strongly encouraged” a return to full, in-person instruction in the fall, as long as the regions are in Phase 4 of reopening.

Indiana

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

School buildings were allowed to reopen starting July 1 per Gov. Eric Holcomb’s executive order, but districts set their own academic calendars and can make individual decisions about when or if students return to in-person classes.

Iowa

State-ordered in-person instruction available part-time or full-time*

On July 17, Gov. Reynolds, overriding local decisions, ordered every student to spend at least half of their schooling inside classrooms. Districts must also provide online classes for parents who demand it. Temporary/continuous remote learning for an entire school or district can only be requested if the COVID-19 positivity rate averages 15 percent to 20 percent countywide over the past 14 days, and 10 percent absenteeism is expected for in-person instruction.

*Orders include public statements or actions from governors and state officials. They may be subject to waivers or overridden by other officials.

Kansas

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

The Kansas Board of Education voted July 22 to reject an order by Gov. Laura Kelly that would have delayed the start of school until Sept. 8. The vote put the decision on when to reopen back in the hands of local school districts.

Kentucky

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Gov. Andy Beshear has recommended that schools should not begin in-person classes before Sept. 28. Once they return to buildings, all students, except those in preschool or kindergarten, will be required to wear masks in in-person classes.

Louisiana

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

While school districts can choose when to reopen, the state’s board of education has dictated a series of standards districts must meet before they reopen.

Maine

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

The state has approved all schools to offer in-person instruction this fall with required health and safety measures, but individual districts will make their own decisions.

Maryland

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Local districts must submit plans for reopening by Aug. 14. The state allows districts to make plans for in-person classes, as long as they follow state and federal health recommendations.

Massachusetts

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Districts and charter schools must finalize their return-to-school plans for in-person, hybrid and remote learning, submit them to the state department of education, and release them publicly. The state’s Return-to-School Working Group is prioritizing in-person learning.

Michigan

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in-person learning can only occur in a region that’s in at least phase four of her reopening plan. The state legislature passed a measure that says districts must reconfirm their plans on how to deliver instruction every 30 days. Districts that reopen for in-person instruction must prioritize K-5 students.

Minnesota

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Districts can determine whether to start the school year remotely, fully in-person, or in a hybrid model based on the number of new coronavirus cases in their county. The state developed suggested thresholds for when school buildings can reopen, and districts can adjust their learning models throughout the school year if needed.

Mississippi

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Districts may choose to open school buildings, but they must modify schedules, restrict gatherings, and observe social distancing in accordance with state and federal recommendations.

Missouri

State-ordered in-person instruction available part-time or full-time*

Districts are required to open by Aug. 24, but can receive a waiver from the state’s department of education to open later. Students must be in school at least two days a week.

*Orders include public statements or actions from governors and state officials. They may be subject to waivers or overridden by other officials.

Montana

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

The state department of education issued July guidance on four possible reopening scenarios, including for “near full capacity of attendance and operations in a traditional setting, with remote learning for students not onsite.” Under this scenario, there is no limit on group sizes in schools, but social distancing should be observed, and monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19 should still take place, the guidance says.

Nebraska

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has given districts discretion to set their own reopening plans using guidance from the state’s education department. That guidance advises remote or hybrid learning plans in communities with significant or moderate spread.

Nevada

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Guidance from the Nevada education department says school districts and charters must develop distance learning plans “even if
a district/school has sufficient space to open for full-time in-person instruction” under the second phase of the state’s reopening guidelines. However, states must also develop plans that cover in-person learning, under a directive from Gov. Steve Sisolak.

New Hampshire

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Local districts will decide whether they open for full-time, in-person teaching, continue with remote instruction, or employ a combination of the two as part of hybrid models.

New Jersey

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Districts develop their own reopening plans. While state guidance released June 26 prioritized a return to in-person classes, on Aug. 12, Gov. Phil Murphy announced an executive order that schools could open as remote-only if they cannot meet health and safety standards for live instruction. However, districts must lay out how they intend to address the health and safety challenges to move to in-person instruction.

New Mexico

State ordered closure in effect (including states where openings are delayed)

Schools cannot hold in-person classes until at least Sept. 8, although districts can start the academic year earlier with remote-only instruction. Students will return to buildings under a hybrid model where they will alternate between in-person classes and distance learning.

*Orders include public statements or actions from governors and state officials. They may be subject to waivers or overridden by other officials.

New York

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

School districts across the state can reopen in-person in the fall, though that may be revised on a regional basis if COVID-19 infection rates increase. School systems will have to follow state guidelines, but the specifics of the plans–including whether teaching will be delivered in-person or via a hybrid model– will be up to the districts.

North Carolina

Only hybrid or remote instruction allowed

When North Carolina students return to school, they’ll do so under a plan to limit on-campus attendance, Gov. Roy Cooper announced July 14. Districts must offer online learning for students who are at higher health risks or who choose not to return. Districts can choose a fully-remote option if the infection rates in their area are high.

North Dakota

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Gov. Doug Burgum said July 14 that school districts could reopen for in-person instruction in consultation with local health officials.

Ohio

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Districts will decide whether to open school buildings, but the state department of education has said that they should only do so if they can follow the state’s health and safety guidance. All students attending school in person will be required to wear masks, with some medical exemptions.

Oklahoma

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

The state has advised districts in its reopening guidance to prepare alternate school calendars for potential school closures. Individual school districts will determine when to start school this fall.

Oregon

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

A guidance document from the state department of education outlines state and county COVID-19 metrics that determine whether districts can open buildings part-time or full-time. The state is offering allowances for districts, particularly those that are small or rural, to offer limited in-person instruction to specific groups of students.

Pennsylvania

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

State guidance allows school districts to decide whether they will use in-person or remote instruction, or a mix of both. Many school boards are still voting on their reopening plans throughout August, and some have requested additional guidance from the state.

Puerto Rico

State ordered closure in effect (including states where openings are delayed)

On July 22, Puerto Rico’s education department announced that it would offer virtual classes starting Aug. 17, but that schools would not reopen for in-person classes until Sept. 17.

*Orders include public statements or actions from governors and state officials. They may be subject to waivers or overridden by other officials.

Rhode Island

State ordered closure in effect (including states where openings are delayed)

A final announcement on whether it is safe for schools to reopen for in-person instruction is expected the week of Aug. 31. Gov. Gina Raimondo has pushed back the start of classes until Sept. 14, two weeks later than originally planned.

*Orders include public statements or actions from governors and state officials. They may be subject to waivers or overridden by other officials.

South Carolina

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Each of the 81 districts in the state has had its reopening plans approved by the state department of education, but only 1 in 5 plan to open full-time five days a week. Four plan to start with fully remote instruction. In July, Gov. Henry McMaster urged all districts to offer a typical full-time schedule, but Molly Spearman, the education superintendent, said she disagreed with that edict and would approve “high quality” plans that had safety at the forefront.

South Dakota

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

South Dakota’s state education department issued guidance that gives discretion to local districts to set restart plans in consultation with local health officials. It recommends flexible plans that prioritize face-to-face instruction.

Tennessee

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Districts will decide whether to open school buildings. The state department of education’s guidance also provides a framework that districts can use to assess risk and decide when it would be safe to reopen.

Texas

State-ordered in-person instruction available part-time or full-time*

School districts must provide daily, on-campus learning, however school systems can temporarily limit on-campus instruction for the first four weeks of school and beyond that with a waiver.

*Orders include public statements or actions from governors and state officials. They may be subject to waivers or overridden by other officials.

Utah

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

The Utah state board of education released a set of minimum requirements for local school districts to meet before reopening schools for in-person instruction. By Aug. 1, districts must create and publicize plans for resuming in-person learning that address schedules, hygiene and safety, monitoring schools, “containing potential outbreaks” and (if necessary) temporarily closing schools again, among other areas.

Vermont

State ordered closure in effect (including states where openings are delayed)

Gov. Phil Scott issued a July 29 executive order delaying the start of the school year to Sept. 8 for all public and independent schools. The state’s education agency and health department are also recommending full-time in-person learning “as soon as practical,” especially for students in Pre-K through Grade 5. Local districts will still decide how they will reopen.

*Orders include public statements or actions from governors and state officials. They may be subject to waivers or overridden by other officials.

Virginia

Only hybrid or remote instruction allowed

The state is currently requiring that in-person instruction be accompanied by strict social distancing measures, which means many districts will have to blend remote and face-to-face learning. But Gov. Ralph Northam also said Virginia won’t reopen schools if infection rates start to rise, as is happening in some regions of the state.

Washington

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

State officials announced Aug. 6 that they recommend schools in areas with high rates of new COVID-19 cases reopen with full-time distance learning for nearly all students. Schools in areas with moderate rates of virus transmission should consider opening buildings only for elementary students, officials said, and districts in areas with low transmission should begin hybrid instruction for middle and high school students. The state’s education department earlier this summer urged all schools to reopen for some in-person learning, but the persistence of new COVID-19 cases forced a more cautious set of recommendations for local decisions, Gov. Jay Inslee said.

West Virginia

State ordered closure in effect (including states where openings are delayed)

Gov. Jim Justice has pushed the start of schools from August to a tentative start date of Sept. 8. The goal is to have in-person learning five days a week, but individual districts are formulating the details of such a plan.

*Orders include public statements or actions from governors and state officials. They may be subject to waivers or overridden by other officials.

Wisconsin

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

Districts will decide whether to return to full in-person instruction, stick to remote learning, or go with a hybrid model. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s guidance provides a list of considerations and scenarios as districts develop their plans based on infection rates in their area.

Wyoming

Varies by school/district/dependent on local health authorities

The state’s department of education is asking each district by Aug. 3 to send a detailed plan on how they will reopen their schools.

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