Home / Education / Articles / How in-person schooling has impacted COVID-19 cases in four states

The 2021-22 school year started in the middle of a spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths due to the Delta variant. While all adults and children 12 and older can be protected with a vaccine, younger students are more at risk. On top of that, rules regarding safety measures like masking indoors differ between states.

Most children nationwide went back to in-person school this year, with some states providing virtual learning options. It’s difficult to track how in-person schooling has affected unvaccinated children nationwide due to inconsistent or missing data from states.

Looking at data in states that do track COVID-19 cases from students, teachers, and staff gives some indication of how in-person schooling is impacting the spread of the virus in the US.


Connecticut reports COVID-19 cases among staff and students in public and private schools statewide on a weekly basis.

As of October 14, a total of 688 COVID-19 staff cases and 3,707 student cases were reported for the school year. Of the 688 staff that caught COVID-19, about 30% were not vaccinated. About 86% of students with COVID-19 were not vaccinated. About 5% of student cases were vaccinated. The remaining student cases had an unknown vaccination status.

Between the end of August and the end of September, less than one percent of reported Connecticut COVID-19 cases were from schools.

Connecticut does not collect hospitalization data related to cases reported from schools.

There is currently a mask mandate in Connecticut requiring all students and staff working in schools to be masked indoors.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced in late August that all state employees, childcare, and school staff are required to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by September 27. Those who are exempt from getting the vaccine for medical or religious reasons are required to be tested for COVID-19 weekly.

Because all PK-12 teachers are required to be vaccinated in Connecticut, vaccinated staff represent a majority of positive COVID-19 staff cases in schools, according to the Connecticut Department of Education. About 70% of all Connecticut residents are fully vaccinated.

About 84% of Connecticut students who contracted COVID-19 were not vaccinated.

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Hawaii public schools opened August 3. The state Education Department produces a weekly report showing COVID-19 case counts for students, teachers and staff from its 257 schools and other education offices.

Since the beginning of the school year, Hawaii reported 3,745 COVID-19 cases in schools. It does not separate student cases from those of teachers or staff. Of the nearly 141,000 COVID-19 cases reported in Hawaii since schools opened, 2.7% of cases involved students or school staff.

Schools in the state faced spikes in reported COVID-19 cases between August and the end of September. Between August 22 and 23, reported cases increased by 4.7% or by 150 cases.

Hawaii does not collect hospitalization data on cases reported from schools. It also does not produce data on whether infected students, teachers, or staff were vaccinated or not. About 64% of 12- to 17-year-olds are fully vaccinated in Hawaii.

Hawaii currently requires masks to be worn inside schools. It also requires all teachers and state employees to be vaccinated or undergo regular testing. State law requires the Department of Education to publish a weekly report on positive coronavirus cases from a student, teacher, or staff.

Hawaii public schools have had several COVID-19 outbreaks since beginning the school year.

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South Carolina

South Carolina schools started between August and September. The state Department of Health and Environmental Control produces a weekly report on the number of students and staff who attended school or school-related activities during the infectious period of the virus. It also tracks the number of people who’ve had to quarantine due to potential exposure. This includes public and private schools.

Reporting COVID-19 cases to the state does not guarantee that faculty or staff contracted the virus at school, according to the South Carolina Health Department. Students, faculty, and staff who physically attend school or a school’s campus regularly are recorded in the weekly counts.

About 75,000 students, teachers and school staff have been infected with COVID-19 this school year, according to data from the Department of Health and Environmental Control. Of those, 3,571 were teachers or staff. It also reported nearly 200,000 students, teachers, or school staff were quarantined because of potential virus exposure. Between August 4 through October 6, there has been 241,787 positive COVID-19 cases statewide. About 31% or 75,203 of those cases are from students or school staff.

Although the state does not provide data on the vaccination status of school COVID-19 cases, more than 209,000 12-to 19-year-olds in South Carolina have received at least one vaccine. Hospitalization data related to cases reported from schools is not available.

The state does not have a vaccine mandate for teachers and staff, but public school districts will likely have to enforce the Biden administration's plan for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in the workplace.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster initially banned school mask mandates, but that ban is on hold while a lawsuit over his executive order circulates the court system.

About 31% of COVID-19 cases in South Carolina have been from school-aged children, teachers and staff.

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Indiana schools opened their doors the first week of August. The state’s health department reports data on COVID-19 cases at public or private schools weekly.

Over the last two months, there have been a total of 37,211 COVID-19 cases among students, teachers, and staff in Indiana’s public and private schools. About 88% of those cases were students. Almost 45% of positive cases came from 10–14-year-old students, according to state health data.

Since the beginning of the school year, 17% of Indiana COVID-19 cases involved students, teachers, and staff. There have been 217,630 cases statewide since the last week of July.

Indiana does not track the vaccination status of students, teachers or staff with COVID-19, nor does it collect hospitalization data related to cases reported from schools.

Indiana does not have a statewide mask requirement for students or staff. Instead, it gives local discretion to school districts over indoor mask requirements.

Without consistent nationwide data on cases, deaths or hospitalizations for school-age children and school staff, it's difficult to know the full impact that in-person schooling has had on the spread of COVID-19.

Learn more about statewide coronavirus outbreaks at USAFacts COVID-19 tracker.