CINCINNATI — Ryan Messer was just another parent with his daughter at home Thursday watching a video conference orientation to get everybody ready for the new learning model at Cincinnati Public Schools.
“Is virtual ideal? No. But a pandemic is not ideal,” said Messer, a CPS Board of Education vice-president.
As a CPS board member, Messer trusts the administration to make the best recommendations for the school year. As a parent, he’s still got a lot of questions.
“To see and hear the complexities from teachers, the complexities from students … ,” Messer said.
“How do you take a situation and make the best possible outcome out of the things you can’t control? That’s where I feel like we are.”
Messer and his daughter heard Superintendent Laura Mitchell and a teacher try to allay students’ fears.
“We know this isn’t going to be your typical opening,” Mitchell said on video.
“I’m so glad you’re here," the teacher said, smiling and leaning into the camera. "I wish I were meeting you in our classrooms, but this is how it works.
“I know it’s overwhelming. We tried to make it as simple as we could.”
This week, all CPS schools are handing out supplies, instruments, devices and anything else students might need to learn at home.
“These are the iPads and, again, you probably know how to use an iPad better than I,” the teacher said.
“We've given out a total of 30,000 devices to students since early July,” said district spokesperson Fran Russ. “In the last two weeks, we have distributed 11,200 devices. Just since Monday, we have given out 5,442 devices.
“Our goal is to give out the remaining 6,000 within the next week or so,” Russ said.
“I think what we saw today was about the best example of what you can expect, given the circumstances,” Messer said.
Students in this Pre-K and Kindergarten class will be expected to log on for video conference instruction every day, but teachers are trying to make the lessons more hands-on and interactive.