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Parents weigh in on Cincinnati Public Schools' move to blended learning plan starting Oct. 5

Cincinnati Public Schools
Posted at 9:51 PM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 13:00:06-04

CINCINNATI — Parents got to weigh in on Cincinnati Public Schools’ decision to return to a blended learning model at a virtual town hall meeting Tuesday night.

Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education on Monday approved a blended learning model for most students, with the exception of Walnut Hills High School, that will begin on Oct. 5. Students will be divided into A and B groups and will attend school two days per week in person and three days a week at home.

Amy Lovelace, parent of a CPS second-grader, said she's concerned about a lack of consistency in terms of a schedule.

“Every week is going to feel like the first week of school,” Lovelace said.

The CPS Board of Education said they’re trying to provide a choice for everyone.

“Consistency is tough,” Lovelace said. “The blended schedule puts more responsibilities on the parents. It creates another layer of confusion.”

She said her kids are just starting to get used to the virtual learning system they’ve been doing since the start of school.

“I don’t see the incremental value yet,” Lovelace said. “I’m looking for the payoff. The investment, the heart it’s going to take.”

CPS board members and administrators did their best to outline the plan to concerned parents.

“The social/emotional wellness of our students,” said CPS Deputy Superintendent Tianay Amat. “Being able to connect with each other, other peers, and their classroom teacher.”

CPS is adjusting the schedules of all students depending on age. Come Oct. 5, preschool and specialized classrooms will be divided into an A and B group. Group A will report for in-person instruction on Tuesday and Wednesday while B will return Thursday and Friday. Starting Oct. 12, all of them will return four days a week.

“Highest number we’d have would be eight students at a given time,” said CPS superintendent Laura Mitchell said. “We’re excited to be able to provide some differentiated services.”

Seventh- and eighth-graders will start an A-B schedule on Oct. 5. Third- through sixth- and ninth- through twelfth-graders return on Oct. 12.

Mondays will be remote for all, with one half returning Tuesday/Wednesday and the other half back on Thursday/Friday.

“Really listening to the parents saying,” Mitchell said, "they’re interested in getting kids back to school as soon as possible. We don’t believe we’re compromising the integrity of the safety precautions in place.”

Parents said it’s a lot to take in, and somewhat confusing.

“These choices you’ve given us have put us in a rock and a hard place,” parent James Crayton said. “It’s the illusion of choice. Continue as you’ve been going. Or send them back to a situation where we have to change something for a 7-year-old.”

Principals will be sending out a survey this week asking parents if they plan to send their children back to school or continue virtual learning.

CPS is holding another town hall meeting Wednesday at 4 p.m.