WORCESTER, Mass. - Many students in Worcester returned to their classrooms this week for the first time in more than a year, but not all families are choosing the hybrid learning model.

The Worcester Regional Research Bureau [WRRB] took a closer at the data from Worcester Public Schools and conducted an analysis on different factors including students age, race, ethnicity and geography to see where there are patterns.

According to the data, of the 24,043 students, 53% have opted into hybrid, 44% will stay remote and 3% did not respond, with Elementary school parents the most likely to opt for hybrid. 

The schools are broken down into four regional groups. Doherty High School saw the highest return to hybrid learning at 58%, while South High saw the least at 49%.  

WRRB's Paul Matthews says the statistics are similar to state and national numbers where urban districts have a different set of challenges than rural and suburban districts. He says when you look a the race and ethnicity data of families opting for hybrid, it's substantially higher for white families.

"So it's about 62% of white families are opting for hybrid versus remote, about 52 percent of families that identify as black, and 46 % Asian and 45% Latino. So you can see a considerable swing there. We are not saying race and ethnicity is the only factor at work in these decisions, but there is clearly a pattern that policy makers and the community should be aware of as we think about Worcester going back to hybrid and on May 3 they are going to go back to five days a week from K to 8,” said Matthews.

Matthews says the School Department will conduct another survey asking parents and families of students in grades K to 8 if they want to go back five days a week. He says there hoping to release a similar brief when they receive this data.