New Study Shows that School Districts with Mask Mandates Experienced Largest Declines in Student Enrollment

While governments’ responses to the Wuhan virus pandemic have been terrible, there has been a silver lining in this entire process. These extreme circumstances have resulted in a notable exodus from public schools. For example, public schools heavily reliant on virtual classes and mask mandates during the Wuhan virus lockdowns also experienced the sharpest declines in enrollment during the past two years. A study conducted by the American Enterprise Institute and the College Crisis Initiative at Davidson College showcased this trend. 

This study revealed that over 1.27 million students have exited public schools since the Wuhan virus outbreak. On top of that,  Bein Zeisloft of the Daily Wire noted that 1.18 million students left their districts during the 2020-2021 school year. Zeisloft observed that “net losses continued into the 2021-2022 school year.” 

This study showed that “districts that returned to in-person more quickly” were the same districts that witnessed a recovery in enrollment. 

Zeisloft added the following:

Districts with the most virtual classes churned 4.4% of their students, while districts that chose not to rely on remote classes lost 1.1% of students. The former category of school systems saw their most severe losses in their kindergarten and elementary populations — 8.1% and 6.2%, respectively.

Curiously, some of the enrollment decline trends were connected to local voting behavior.

School districts in counties that Joe Biden won in 2020 have witnessed 3.8% reductions in enrollment. On the other hand, districts that Donald Trump won experienced a 1.9% decline in public school enrollment. 

“The road to recovery for schools will be long, especially for those that were more COVID-cautious,” the study observed. 

School districts where there was high mask usage saw a 3.8% decline in their student populations. By contrast, districts in counties where there was low mask usage witnessed 1.5% declines in the student population. 

Of all the states, New York experienced the worst decline in student enrollment — 6%. Similarly, Oregon and Mississippi experienced enrollment reductions of 5% between 2020 and 2022.

One thing of note that took place throughout the pandemic is the rise in homeschooling. According to a previous report by Zeisloft at the Daily Wire, from March 2020 to September 2020, homeschooling rates nationwide grew between 5.4% and 11%.  Zeisloft added that “5 million American children were receiving their education at home.”

Despite all the upheaval government policies have created over the last year, there are many silver linings to exploit. The significant exodus of individuals from public schools demonstrates that people are sick of the education system, and school district policies during the Wuhan virus pandemic was likely the breaking point. 

This is the moment where liberty conservatives must take the next step and make the case against government education altogether. Pushing the envelope is always the best way to effect real change in politics.