How Is School Enrollment in Washington State Shifting during COVID-19?

January 2021

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As in other states, disruptions in schooling amid the pandemic have impacted public school enrollment in Washington State.

This brief examines shifts in public school enrollment in Washington since the pandemic began last spring, using data reported by OSPI in October 2020, and statewide headcount data from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. We found:

  • Statewide enrollment dropped 3 percent in 2020 compared to enrollment before the pandemic. Elementary grades experienced the greatest enrollment declines.
  • Charter school enrollment jumped 35 percent in fall 2020, while districts saw losses.
  • Enrollment of students with disabilities in charters grew more than 14 percent.
  • English language learner enrollment fell over 5 percent in districts, but charter schools saw an almost 50 percent increase.