Loudoun County Public Schools announced its 2022-2023 preliminary enrollment numbers Tuesday as the district climbs back toward pre-pandemic student counts.
The report compares the first 10 days of school this year to the first 10 days of school in 2021. This year’s overall numbers showed 674 more students enrolled than last year’s 81,318, bringing this year’s 10-day preliminary count to 81,992.
Director of Planning and GIS Services Beverly Tate said the official enrollment, to be determined on Sept. 30, is projected to be 83,039.
In the pre-COVID September 2019 official count, the school district’s enrollment was 84,175. In September 2020, the official count dropped by 2,671 to 81,504, and last year recovered only 138 students to 81,642. This year the school district projects growing by another 1,397 students, meaning the school district will have recovered just under 60% of the enrollment it lost in the first year of COVID, with 1,136 still to go.
Tate pointed out the division’s 10-day count is at 98.7% of expected enrollment for the Sept. 30 numbers. Enrollment typically grows by several hundred between the 10-day count and official count.
“It’s interesting to see that the numbers are very stable,” Chairman Jeff Morse (Dulles) said.
He noted during the Sept. 12 meeting of the joint School Board/Board of Supervisors Committee that the growth was in line with the projections from last fall.
Tate said her department will begin looking at growth and possible changes to the school district’s Capital Improvement Program next week and report back in a couple of months.
This year in preliminary counts there are 194 more preschool aged children enrolled than last year and 332 more elementary aged students are enrolled bringing the total this year to 34,461.
There are 19,147 total middle schoolers this year compared to 19,422 last year, a drop of 275 students. And for high school, there are 423 more 9-12 grade students this year than last year’s 26,975.
With the new Elaine E. Thompson Elementary School open this year, three other elementary schools have seen overcrowding relieved.
Creighton’s Corner Elementary School’s in 2021-22 was over its 1,006 building capacity by 122 students. For the 2022-23 school year the school’s preliminary enrollment is 867, about 139 under capacity.
Hovatter Elementary School, too, was crowded that year with a capacity of 960 but a 10-day enrollment of 1,056. This year, the 10-day enrollment is 935.
And Madison’s Trust Elementary School’s building capacity is 1,006 but had 1,179 students at the 10-day count last year, 173 over capacity. This year’s enrolment numbers are below capacity by 63, with a total of 943 students enrolled.
Morse said he didn’t see any elementary schools that were overcrowded as of Sept. 10, but noted that may change in 20 more days when final numbers are released, and said growth rates in other parts of the county are expected to grow in the coming years.
“We certainly know that next year the growth rates, especially in the southern portion of the county all along Rt. 15 to the east, are going to continue to grow,” said Morse.
Morse pointed out Brambleton Middle School’s count is well over capacity and that its sister school, Independence High School is nearing capacity quickly. Tate said the increase in Independence’s numbers is partially attributable to more Brambleton Middle School students being moved into modular classrooms at the high school to relieve overcrowding until a new middle school, MS-14, is open.
Brambleton Middle School’s building capacity is 1445, and this year’s 10-day numbers show it being over capacity by 174 students.
Other schools over capacity at the 10-day preliminary enrollment numbers include Loudoun County High School by 37 students, Potomac Falls High School by 44 students, and River Bend Middle School by 63 students. Several high schools including Briar Woods, Freedom, John Champe and Potomac Falls also have modular classrooms on campus, temporarily increasing their capacity.
Virtual distance elementary learners this year totaled 96 compared to 298 last year and virtual distance secondary learners were 186 this year compared to 248 last year.
The report on the official Sept. 30 enrollment is expected to be presented to the School Board on Oct. 11.
This article was updated at 5:09 p.m. Sept. 16 to correct a typo in the 2020 drop in enrollment.