Districts that experienced dips in student enrollment during the coronavirus pandemic may be headed toward a rebound, according to researchers and anecdotal evidence from some districts.

While school leaders worried that students would flee for charter or private schools, private school enrollment actually declined, according to education consulting firm EAB. That said, the number of students in virtual charters and homeschooling did increase, but the fact that most students stayed home rather than transferring to another district likely means many will return to their home district.

Kevin Brown, executive director of the Texas Association of School Administrators, told K-12 Dive he expects a “significant rebound” in his state, especially if there is a juvenile vaccine. Other experts agree, and based on internal research and family studies, many districts report they’re confident enrollment will return to near pre-pandemic levels this fall.

At the same time, new data from the Center on Reinventing Public Education shows that enrollment dips were pronounced for districts that stayed closed longer and for students in the earlier grades, especially kindergarten. And while there are some instances where districts have seen students fall off the grid, districts do know in most cases where students have gone, meaning they can be contacted about returning.

National data from Civis Analytics, a data science software provider and consultancy that routinely tracks COVID-19 effects, shows that 29% of 2,324 parent respondents reported having disenrolled their children from their intended public schools due to reopening decisions. Of that 29%, 42.6% said they chose an online program, 29% chose to homeschool and 22% enrolled in another public school. Only 14% chose charters, and 19% chose private schools.

Of parents who pulled their children from public school, 82% said they have plans to re-enroll once it is safe to do so.

Some districts are offering families options for their children’s return to school, including shifting to non-traditional schedules and providing continued remote or hybrid learning. A recent poll by the National Parents Union showing that parents want to be provided learning options suggests superintendents are headed in the right direction in making those decisions.