SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4)- Utah public schools added 8,638 students this fall for a growth rate of 1.3 percent. It brings the total number of students to 675,247, according to October 1 enrollment data released today by the Utah State Board of Education (USBE).

The number of students enrolled in Kindergarten fall of 2021 was 49,150 students compared to 47,971 students in 2020. Student transfers from public school to homeschooling grew from 914 in the fall of 2019 to 3,375 in 2020. 

However, homeschooling numbers fell to 1,227 this year. Enrollment in online-only public schools remained unchanged at 26,605 students in 2020 and 26,711 in 2021.

Charter school enrollment statewide dropped in  2021 from 79,255 in 2020 to 77,789, a 1.9% difference.

The demographic makeup of the student body at Utah public schools is as follows: white students made up 72% of all students. Hispanic students were the next highest at 19%. Ethnically mixed students made up 3% of the student makeup. Asian, Black/African American, Pacific Islander, and Native American students made up 2% or less of the entire student makeup.

The percentage of students who were economically disadvantaged was at 27%. Students with a disability were at 12% of the total student body. English language learner students were at 8% and homeless students made up 1% of the entire student body in Utah public schools.

“We applaud the work of our many educators and staff who have made conditions possible for our students to come back to school for optimal learning and support,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson said, “Parents have responded by having their students return where possible.”

Dickson also said that she understands that everything isn’t back to where it was before and that there are still concerns from parents, students, teachers, and school staff alike. 

“Schools and health departments continue to work to make schools a safe environment in which all students can learn and succeed,” she said.