Enrollment remains static as COVID cases rise

by Joseph Sweeney | editor-in-chief

As COVID case numbers rise throughout the San Antonio area, enrollments in the school have remained mostly constant between the first and second semesters. The number of enrollments has sat at 3248 and 3239 students for the first and second semester respectively, and new enrollments have made up for recent withdrawals.

“After the holidays, families just move, people get new jobs, a lot of people building new homes, a lot of people downsizing,” registrar Conalee Johnson said. 

During the surge in COVID cases caused by the delta variant in July and August, student losses as high as 1500 were reported by the district, however these numbers soon fell as the start of the school year drew closer.

“You know what we saw on the first day of school? We enrolled almost 90 students on the first day. That has never happened at Johnson before. The second day we had like 45, maybe 50. That’s unheard of,” Johnson said. “I think COVID affected that because people were waiting, hoping that the schools would go back to virtual learning. Parents were waiting until the last minute and when they realized that we weren’t going to do that, they rushed in on the first day to enroll.”

As of November, the district as a whole had still seen a loss of 800 students from the 2020-2021 school year.

“High schools are all full and doing great,” Principal Gary Comalander said. “The area that’s a little bit lower is more in the pre-K, Kinder, where parents are choosing not to start their kid because of the pandemic. Whereas before that was huge to have your kid [enrolled] in there. That’s where the bigger shortages have been.”

Rather than the spread of COVID, in this case it was found almost a year-and-a-half of remote learning was what led to these departures.

“Everybody that withdraws, I talked to them. None of them have said we’re withdrawing because of COVID. Nobody has,” Johnson said. “When we had shut down and everybody was doing virtual, some kids found that that was easier for them. They liked that better. They can go to work, they can have a job and make that extra money to help their family.”

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