CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Public Schools board of education approved non-contact sports starting within the district this week, and contact sports like football can begin next week.
A decision on spectators at sporting events will be forthcoming, according to a CPS spokesperson late Thursday.
Academically, everything stays the same as it was for at least another week, the board decided during Monday's meeting. The board reached a consensus to get to a blended learning option as soon as data allows it.
The board will meet again on Sept. 21 to discuss what Labor Day’s COVID-19 numbers look like, as school officials said it’s still too soon to know.
Cincinnati Public Schools parent Mandy Carroll is the parent of a third-grader and a high school freshman.
“Now we’re finally hitting our stride,” she said. “Getting into the groove. Both my children are expressing extreme anxiety about coming back with COVID.”
Caution appeared to be on the mind of many parents who spoke via webcam.
“I don’t think it’s worth it to rush into this – and to open sports,” meeting participant Daniel Brenner said. “We don’t want to be another statistic."
Other meeting participants voiced frustration that online learning isn’t the best option.
“It takes constant interaction with a parent for her to do well in school,” parent Beth Sundermann said. “With two working parents in the family, it doesn’t work.”
Two weeks into the online curriculum and more than 5,000 students aren’t participating in school at all.
“Ask any parent of a 4-year-old or a 6-year-old how remote learning is working,” parent Jessica Powell asked. “And I guarantee that you’ll get an answer that it’s not."
Superintendent Laura Mitchell said she’s looking toward the future.
“No matter what decision is made, we’re ready to move forward,” she said.
There are three possibilities on the table for CPS:
- Continue online learning
- Move to a hybrid plan
- Go back to full-time in-classroom learning
“These kids deserve to play,” said Jerome Belcher, who participated in the online meeting. “The numbers justify it as you’ve already read. That’s why I don’t see there’s any reason why they wouldn’t allow them to play.”
Cincinnati Federation of Teachers president Julie Sellers spoke last.
“It’s important that you’re looking and thinking about all aspects before any decision is made,” she said. “I don’t think it will improve the educational options to go back part time."