To gauge how the private schooling sector has fared amid the coronavirus pandemic, Cato’s Center for Educational Freedom launched the COVID-19 Permanent Private School Closures tracker. The tracker attempts to capture all private schools that announced permanent closure—not just temporary closure of a building to in‐person education—with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic having at least partially driven the decision. The tracker includes school names, closure announcement dates, tuition levels, school type, student demographics, and more. In addition, the Center for Educational Freedom has collected data on private schools that have closed without the pandemic as a contributing factor and has attempted to gauge the effect of COVID-19 on overall private school enrollment.
This paper provides data on private school closures one year after the first reported COVID‐19‐connected closure, covering March 18, 2020, to March 17, 2021. It also discusses overall private schooling vitality, including why the pandemic’s effects on the sector were less dire than many people likely expected, which schools and areas were most affected, and what policies going forward can preserve private schooling for families that desire it.