Metro county seeing large drop in school enrollment amid COVID-19 pandemic

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Student enrollment in one metro county is way down with a nearly 5,000 student difference between this year and last year.

Parents told Channel 2′s Tyisha Fernandes that they are pulling their children out of DeKalb County schools and are exploring their options — especially at a time when they’re frustrated about the way their kids are learning in public schools.

Katie Cyphers runs an organization called Academics Plus. It helps families figure out what’s the best educational plan for them.

“Our public school children are the ones who are really struggling,” Cyphers said.

According to DeKalb County school officials, student enrollment is way down with about 5,000 fewer kids enrolled currently than last year.

Cyphers told Fernandes that a small percentage of those students went to private schools so they could learn face-to-face again.


Other parents enrolled their kids in home schooling programs that were established way before the pandemic.

“I also think that you had families that started pods and maybe hired a teacher and realized that they had this powerful teacher behind their children facilitating learning but maybe that they transitioned to that more of a home school curriculum,” Cyphers said.

Fernandes also found another family who took a totally different approach to learning and working remotely.

The Sowers family said they left Dunwoody thinking they were taking a short break in Barbados but decided to take their children completely out of DeKalb County virtual school.

“We just decided we were going to bite the bullet, stay longer and enroll them in school here. And I think that it’ll be one of those really interesting experiences for them to have us here and they’re going to school in a different country,” Heather Sabel-Sowers said.

COVID-19 isn’t a threat in Barbados right now, so the Sowers said their children are developing socially the way they would like them to be.