The Manhattan-Ogden school district saw fall-semester enrollment increase by more than 140 students from the same timeframe last year. But enrollment is still down from pre-pandemic levels.

District officials released fall 2021 enrollment data Wednesday. USD 383 had 6,290 students enrolled across all schools, as of the official district headcount on Sept. 20. That’s an increase of 147 students over the fall 2020 K-12 enrollment of 6,143 students.

Assistant superintendent Eric Reid said the increase in students from last fall to this year was “a good surprise.”

“I guess I was being a little conservative when talking about how many kids would come back,” Reid said. “I knew we’d be up, but I didn’t know how many.”

Manhattan High School had 1,874 students — 536 freshmen, 455 sophomores, 474 juniors and 409 seniors.

Anthony Middle School had 738 students while Eisenhower Middle School followed close behind with 727.

The district had 2,951 elementary students enrolled across 10 buildings: 449 at Amanda Arnold; 196 at Bluemont; 352 at Bergman; 262 at Lee; 447 at Marlatt; 387 at Northview; 127 at Ogden; 300 at Oliver Brown; 252 at Theodore Roosevelt and 179 at Woodrow Wilson.

Reid said the number of children enrolled in elementary schools in the district is down by about 300 students.

He said there were “a lot” of families who pulled their kids from school last year at the height of the pandemic to do homeschooling, while others moved out of the area completely.

The district’s Sept. 20 headcount in 2019 was 6,450 students.

He said he’s hoping to get most of those students who did not move away back into USD 383 schools over the next three years.

Reid said enrollment numbers are “always an estimate” as they are updated regularly by district officials to account for students that relocate or withdraw from school. He said the “more exact” data is documented in the district enrollment audit at the end of the school year.

This year, students are attending classes in person five days a week.

For the fall 2020 semester, the district operated in a hybrid learning mode, with students taking courses both in-person and at home for part of the week. Reid said there have been “a lot of hiccups” with the return to full in-person school, but he said he thinks people like being back in-person.

“Face-to-face schooling is so much better for everybody involved,” Reid said. “Trying to get more back to normal is really important.”

The USD 383 school board approved redrawn attendance boundaries in February, which redistributed students across elementary schools in order to keep class sizes lower and account for the addition of Oliver Brown Elementary in August.

Enrollment figures for the fall semester at Kansas State University will be released by the Kansas Board of Regents in the coming weeks.