COVID Reshapes K-12 In-plants
The pandemic brought school district in-plants into the limelight in 2020 when many of them suddenly saw their volumes explode with curriculum printing to support remote schooling. While university in-plants watched their work plummet, many K-12 shops worked overtime, pumping out mountains of materials, effectively keeping their schools afloat in a time of great confusion.
For some, those volumes went back down again last year when students returned to school. Others whose districts switched from textbooks to open-source materials are finding curriculum printing to be a profitable niche. Among the school district in-plants we surveyed, 100% are now printing course materials, up from just 45% in our 2019 survey.
The impact of virtual schooling, however, affected in-plants in different ways. Districts that distributed laptops to students moved away from printed coursework. Some have been slow to come back. Others have wisely recognized that students learn more effectively from printed materials.
For many K-12 in-plants, wide-format printing experienced a boom during COVID as they began printing massive amounts of safety signage. This, combined with the change in demand for classroom materials, has altered how many K-12 in-plants operate. As one respondent noted: “Our business is much different now than it was two years ago.”
Download our new report to learn more about these and other trends at K-12 in-plants.
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.