Sunset Park Elementary School, pictured on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, has been affected by a dozen cases of COVID-19 this fall but has not experienced an outbreak. The Pueblo school is pivoting to remote learning for the rest of the semester along with other schools in Pueblo School District 60. Teachers, however, are required to keep teaching from their classrooms. As cases rise in the community, some educators are calling for a choice to work from school or work from home. (Erica Breunlin, The Colorado Sun)

By Yesenia Robles and Gabrielle LaMarr LeMee  Ju, Chalkbeat Colorado

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at

Students in Colorado crossed school district boundaries a little more than usual during the pandemic school year, according to enrollment data.

Colorado’s open enrollment laws enable students to enroll in any school or district, even if they don’t live within that school’s attendance boundaries — although that choice can be subject to space available.

In a school year with many students working remotely and wide variability in the amount and quality of classroom and remote learning, enrollment trends changed. Many students never enrolled in schools and some who did, did not show up for classes.

Were more of Colorado’s families willing to cross district lines this year? Chalkbeat analyzed state enrollment data to learn more.

Here are the main takeaways from our analysis:

Slightly more students enrolled across district lines this school year than previously, but they mostly followed previous trends of movement.

In the past five years statewide, about 10% of students enrolled in a district that wasn’t their own, although that proportion slowly had been increasing. In the 2020-21 school year, it jumped to 12%. That represented a 9% increase, which was a bigger increase than in previous years.

Where students went didn’t change much, though. The districts that already had high numbers of out-of-district students had even more this school year, and those districts that typically lost a lot of students to other districts continued to see that.


Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news organization covering schools and education. The news organization believes education is a local issue, and roots its coverage in local communities. Chalkbeat reports from and about eight locations: Colorado, Chicago,...