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Cincinnati Public Schools to discuss moving to blended learning plan, athletics at Sept. 14 meeting

Cincinnati Public Schools
Posted at 5:45 PM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-12 21:25:41-04

CINCINNATI — Among topics to be discussed at their Sept. 14 school board meeting, Cincinnati Public Schools will determine whether distance learning will continue based on the latest models of the spread of COVID-19 or if the district will transition to a blended learning model.

According to a statement released by CPS spokesperson Fran Russ, the board also plans to talk about athletics.

Parents and students protested the board’s decision to allow student-athletes to practice but not play games outside the school board meeting in August.

For blended learning, which may resume Sept. 28 if certain COVID-19 conditions are met, students in Cincinnati Public Schools will be divided into two groups, each of which will attend in-person classes for two days every week (either Tuesday-Wednesday or Thursday-Friday) and on alternating Mondays. The remainder of the week’s lessons will take place online.

District officials believe the two-group system will allow social distancing during in-person classes and prevent cross-contamination from one class to the next, according to superintendent Laura Mitchell.

For the board to approve blended learning, Cincinnati would have to see a "sustained daily decline" in new COVID-19 cases over a two-week period and a positivity rate equal to or under 5%, and Hamilton County must be out of the "red" or "purple" alert zones on the state's health advisory system, according to the proposal.

Under the plan, students with disabilities and English learners will still receive services in the remote environment and may have materials that don’t involve technology, based on individual student needs. Some students may require alternative communication devices, which will be sent home with them. Most are included in general education classrooms and will participate with other students.

Additionally, all students in grades 2-12 would receive laptops, while pre-K students, kindergartners and first-graders will be issued iPads. The district has already distributed roughly 11,000 iPads to students. CPS, in partnership with Cincinnati Bell, will also offer free WiFi internet “to every CPS student who needs it” by the end of this week.

When they come back to school buildings, CPS will require students and staff to wear masks on buses, in hallways and in classrooms. CPS will also conduct temperature checks, enforce six feet of social distancing and require hand washing before meals. Custodians will also deep-clean classrooms and school spaces.

Food hubs will remain at schools during distance learning to retrieve a week’s worth of meals.

For more information on CPS plans to reopen, click here.