Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools saw a decline of about 3,000 students in 2021, which district officials attribute to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The same year, enrollment in charter, private and home schools increased. But data shows some students are returning to the district. 

WS/FCS Chief Accountability Officer Andrew Kraft shared a report on county enrollment trends at a school board meeting on Tuesday. 

“We all wondered when we saw this drop during COVID, ‘Would we recover?’ And the answer has been ‘Yes.’ Right? So although we, like other districts across the state, experienced a loss in our market share during COVID, we're starting to see those students come back to the public schools," Kraft said. "That's a good sign.”

District enrollment in 2022 was up by about 1,000 students from the year before. But compared to 15 years ago, public school attendance in the county, and the state, has declined. 

“So back in 2007, we had 85% of the students here in Forsyth County attending public schools. Today we have about 80%. That's a drop of about five percentage points," Kraft said. "But you compare that to some of the drops that other districts have seen across the state; they've experienced a much larger drop.”

North Carolina as a whole has seen more than a 10% decline in public school enrollment since 2007. Guilford and Durham Counties experienced an 11 and 14% drop respectively. 

Amy Diaz covers education for WFDD in partnership with Report For America. You can follow her on Twitter at @amydiaze.

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