CINCINNATI — The message at Monday night’s Cincinnati Public Schools meeting from parents was clear: They want their kids back in classrooms.
The issue wasn’t on the agenda, but it’s clearly on the mind for parents who are anxious to know when their children can get back into the classroom.
“I am calling to support an immediate return to full-time, five-day, in-person learning for our students,” parent Lee Sellinger said.
Nearly every voice heard at the virtual meeting echoed the same plea.
“Life is going on everywhere else,” parent Ashley Tolokonsky said. “I mean, people are at Target. People are at soccer tournaments, hockey practice. I mean, everybody’s doing everything except us.”
One mom named Susan read an email from her daughter’s teacher, addressing the lag in learning parents have raised concerns about for months.
“This is a hard year to gauge the actual retained learning that’s taking place,” she said. “Our tests and assignments are submitted electronically, making it easier for students to use outside resources whether I intended them to or not.”
That same teacher compared retention to that of a holiday week, where the gap in in-person learning means some lessons are lost.
“When the students come back the next week, much of what we have studied has been forgotten,” Susan read. “This just happens every week instead of once a quarter.”
Others expressed concern for their children’s mental health.
“Our kids are being left behind socially, emotionally and academically and we need to address this issue,” parent Mary Ann Griffin said.
While the district, which asked for school employees to be prioritized for vaccination, analyzes the data, some are losing patience.
“Parents know what is best for their kids,” parent Erin Upp said. “I know my kids need to be in-person to learn best. When will this board allow this mom to choose what is best for her kids?”
The CPS school board is scheduled to review community and staff health data at the end of the week.
The district’s website said there is a potential return to more blended learning at the end of the month, although it’s not clear how the state’s plans will affect that decision.