Covedale teacher Connie Campbell is high-risk and updating her will. In August, she and teachers across Cincinnati Public Schools will return to their classrooms in-person despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“I don’t think it’s an if,” she said of the potential for students or teachers to catch the virus from each other. “I think it’s a when someone gets sick.”
Cincinnati Public Schools plans to hire large numbers of substitutes to account for the possibility. Although the eventual hires will also be expected to teach at schools in person, the interviews are being conducted virtually for safety reasons.
The substitutes will each be assigned to a specific building to prevent possible cross-contamination between schools, according to Julie Sellers of the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers. District teachers will be expected to take a COVID-19 test by Aug. 14; Sellers suspects subs will have to do the same.
District officials declined to answer WCPO’s questions about whether the substitutes will receive higher pay or health insurance while filling in.
“I truly appreciate that people are willing to be substitutes at this time,” Campbell said.
Marsha Thornton, whose two sons will return to school at CPS, said she feels a responsibility to help keep teachers and other students safe.
“It’s going to take an army, right?” she said.
Campbell said she is trying to stay realistic but confident as she returns.
“There are definitely ways we can make sure that we don’t catch it,” she said.
Sellers pointed out that everything, including how many days a child attends in-person classes each week, could still change before the start of the year.