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Here's what back-to-school will look like in all 22 Hamilton County public school districts

Posted at 6:52 PM, Jul 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-14 14:27:47-04

All information is current as of 11 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 3.

Masks in the classroom or no? Five days of in-person classes or two? Each of Hamilton County's 22 school districts is arriving at its own set of back-to-school plans for the fall, even as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change the shape of the world around them.

Here's what we know about what parents and students can expect.

If this isn't your county or if you're curious what back-to-school will look like elsewhere, check out our guides to Butler and Clermont county schools.

CINCINNATI PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Remote learning for five weeks, then possible blended learning

How will classes work?

Cincinnati Public Schools will start Aug. 24 with an online, remote learning option, a departure from its original blended learning plan. Already, the school system has provided thousands of iPads to students and will help families connect to free WiFi internet in order to participate in remote instruction. Grades 2-12 will work on laptops, while pre-K through first grade students will use iPads for learning.

For blended learning, which may resume Sept. 28 if certain COVID-19 conditions are met, CPS 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.

What safety measures can I expect?

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.

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

DEER PARK COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Parents’ choice (In-person classes or online)

Deer Park Community School District will allow parents to choose either one semester of in-person schooling or remote learning. At the start of the next semester, parents may switch their child's learning option.

The district will release the decision form by Wednesday, July 22, and parents will have until Friday, July 31 to choose.

What safety measures can I expect?

Masks will be required for students and faculty in schools. If a students refuses to wear a mask, they may be moved to online schooling at the request of the district.

"We do not want this to become a discipline issue for our teachers or administrators," read the district's FAQ sheet.

Plexiglass barriers will be installed in classrooms that have tables instead of individual desks. Additionally, the shuttle bus will not run through at least the first semester.

Parents with questions can reference the FAQ or submit their own question using this Google Form.

FINNEYTOWN LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
TBA

“Because we do not know what our options truly will be in the fall, we are planning for everything,” superintendent Terri Noe wrote online.

The most likely scenario will be a blended learning program similar to Cincinnati Public Schools’: Half the student body in the school at once while they other half learns from home. The last public update on the subject was posted June 29.

FOREST HILLS SCHOOL DISTRICT
Blended learning (for now)

How will classes work?

Forest Hills schools plan to adjust their schedules based on the Ohio Department of Health’s statewide heat map, which ranks counties’ COVID-19 risk level on a four-tiered scale from yellow (“follow all current health orders”) to purple (“only leave home for supplies and services”).

If the district’s three ZIP codes are yellow or orange, students will attend all classes in person five days a week. At red, they transition to blended learning. At purple, education becomes exclusively remote again.

As of July 17, Hamilton County was red on ODH’s map.

What safety measures can I expect?

All staff members will be required to wear masks on campus, and students will be required to do the same in situations where they cannot maintain six feet of social distance.

According to the district, “sanitizer will be available at entrances to classrooms and in high-traffic areas,” and custodians’ schedules will be redesigned to “enhance daily cleanings and sanitizations across all buildings.”

Parents are asked to screen their children daily for symptoms of COVID-19 and report to the district immediately if they believe someone in their household has been exposed to the virus.

INDIAN HILL EXEMPTED VILLAGE SCHOOL DISTRICT
TBA

The district conducted a survey asking parents about their hopes for the upcoming school year and published the results on June 23. Most parents said they planned to send their children to school for face-to-face or blended instruction; fewer than 25% said they would keep their children in online-only classes until further notice.

Superintendent Kirk Koennecke wrote that the final plan remained under construction.

LOCKLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT
Parents' choice (In-person classes or online)

How will classes work?

Parents can choose to keep their children home for remote learning, in which case they will be issued a district-owned laptop to access their lessons, or send them to in-person classes five days a week. Families should communicate their choice to the district by July 23.

Both groups will be graded the same way and complete the same lessons, according to the district.

What safety measures can I expect?

According to a letter sent to Lockland parents, students whose families choose the in-person option will be divided into groups that remain together for the entire school day, minimizing the possibility of cross-contamination.

Teachers, not students, will move to new classrooms through the day; each classroom will have hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes.

Students and staff will be asked to self-screen for symptoms before school each day and wear face coverings in situations where social distancing is not possible.

The letter makes heavy use of the word likely, noting that these plans could change before the year begins.

LOVELAND CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
TBA

Like other districts, Loveland has conducted a parent survey to test the waters but not released a final plan for the upcoming year, which will begin Aug. 26.

MADEIRA CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
TBA

Madeira City School District’s website contains no information about the upcoming school year.

MARIEMONT CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
TBA

The district conducted a parent survey in May, and superintendent Steve Estepp wrote online that educators were “in the process of developing a three-tier model for a safe reopening, appropriate academic recovery for students and continued operating procedures” during the upcoming year.

No final plan has been publicly released.

MOUNT HEALTHY CITY SCHOOLS
TBA

The exact structure of Mount Healthy’s blended learning plan remained unclear by Friday, pending the results of a district survey. However, superintendent Reva Cosby had shared two possible options:

If 40% of K-12 families choose to keep their children home for remote learning, they will be permitted to do so. The remaining 60% of students will return to school five days a week with social distancing in place.

If not, the plan will differ slightly for each grade group.

  • K-6 students will have a regular Monday-Friday school week.
  • Seventh- and eighth-graders will attend in-person classes Monday-Wednesday and learn remotely on Thursday and Friday.
  • High schools will start the week with remote learning Monday-Wednesday and attend class on Thursday and Friday.

“Students that choose returning to school are committing to participating in safety measures,” according to a graphic outlining the two plans. “These measures include: wearing masks, social distancing and wellness checks.”

NORTH COLLEGE HILL CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Parents' choice (Blended learning or online)

How will classes work?

Parents will be able to choose whether their children learn 100% remotely via the North College Hill Virtual School or take part in a blended learning curriculum, which brings alternating groups of students to in-person classes two days a week.

What safety measures can I expect?

Students who learn in person will have their temperature taken daily before entering their school building. They will be expected to “maintain 6 feet of social distance whenever possible,” according to a Google Slide presentation published on the district website.

All teachers and staff will give lessons in person, wear masks and limit student movement whenever possible. The district strongly recommends but will not require face coverings for students in third grade and up.

NORTHWEST LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
Parents’ choice (In-person classes or online)

How will classes work?

Parents will be able to choose between an entirely remote education or an in-person curriculum five days a week. Parents should submit their choice to the district by July 30.

What safety measures can I expect?

The district released a detailed guide for parents, students and staff about returning to in-person education. Students and teachers will be required to wear masks while in school buildings and buses. Teachers can remove their face covering while alone in their offices. According to the district website, students will be given permission to remove masks "when it is determined safe to do so."

Students will be required to use hand sanitizer upon entering classrooms. Seating charts will be implemented in classrooms, cafeterias and buses. Water fountains will only be available to fill water bottles, so the district strongly recommends bringing a personal water bottle to school.

Screening stations will be set up in each building separate from the health office.

NORWOOD CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Blended learning

How will classes work?

Students with the last names between A and K will report for in-person instruction on Monday and Tuesday. Those with last names L through Z will be in the building on Thursday and Friday. Students will participate in virtual learning on Wednesday as the buildings are cleaned. Families could also choose to go to 100% virtual instruction.

What safety measures can I expect?

The district released a detailed guide to everyday expectations for students, parents and staff in various settings, including bathrooms, offices, classrooms and drop-off points.

Students in all grades will be encouraged but not required to wear face coverings, especially when moving between classrooms or accessing their lockers. Those in grades 7-12 will clean their own desks and seats at the beginning of each class.

All families participating in in-person learning should be prepared to take their student’s temperature before school each day and keep them home if they display possible symptoms of COVID-19.

OAK HILLS LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
Blended learning

How will classes work?

The school year will start late, on Sept. 3, to give families more time to prepare.

According to the district’s website outlining its reopening plans, any family in the district can sign up for a completely virtual school year if they wish.

Students who choose to return to at least some in-person instruction will have their schedules determined by the Ohio Department of Health’s statewide heat map, which ranks counties’ COVID-19 risk level on a four-tiered scale from yellow (“follow all current health orders”) to purple (“only leave home for supplies and services”).

As long as the Oak Hills community is in the yellow or orange tiers, students will attend in-person classes full-time. At the red tier, indicating “very high exposure and spread,” they will move to blended learning. At purple, all students will become remote learners.

What safety measures can I expect?

Daily temperature checks for students and staff, sanitizer in every classroom, and masks on every staff member. Students will also be required to wear masks when moving between classrooms or in spaces where social distancing is not possible.

“As state and county directives change in response to COVID-19, our plans will change as well, including how and where we deliver instruction,” a district representative wrote online.

PRINCETON CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
TBA

The district will decide on a final plan after analyzing the results of a two-week survey that ended July 14. Remote learning, blended learning and a fully traditional school year are all on the table.

READING CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
TBA

The district intends to arrive at a final plan by July 22 and vote on it July 29.

“Our goal is to create a plan that prioritizes the value of education and the health, safety, and well-being of every staff member and student who walks into our building,” superintendent Jason Enix wrote in a message to families. “I appreciate your patience as we continue to work through this process.”

SOUTHWEST LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
Parents' choice (In-person classes or online)

How will classes work?

Parents will be able to choose whether their children return to a normal in-person schedule or continue to learn remotely during the upcoming year.

Students who attend classes in person will undergo daily symptom assessment, be asked to socially distance and wear face coverings, and be involved in other risk-assessment procedures, according to superintendent John Hamstra.

Hamstra added that parents should have a plan in place in case their child becomes sick or needs to be quarantined. A spike in local cases could force families that choose in-person learning to go remote for an indefinite period of time.

What safety measures can I expect?

Hamstra wrote online that the schools would undergo increased sanitation and cleaning measures and that visitors would be “minimized,” although not eschewed.

Students with temperatures over 100 degrees will not be allowed in in-person classes.

ST. BERNARD - ELMWOOD PLACE CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
TBA

The district’s website contains no information about plans for the upcoming year.

SYCAMORE COMMUNITY CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Parents' choice (In-person classes or online)

How will classes work?

Families will be able to choose whether to send their children to a five-day schedule of face-to-face learning or continue online classes. Other elements of the plan remain in flux pending the results of a survey due July 19.

What safety measures can I expect?

Students who learn in person will be required to wear masks, socially distance by at least three feet, and in some cases alter their schedules to accommodate maximum distancing.

THREE RIVERS LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
TBA

The district’s board of education will consider a first draft of a back-to-school plan July 22 and vote on it July 28.

According to superintendent Mark Ault,Three Rivers could implement a full return to school, a fully virtual curriculum or a blended learning model.

WINTON WOODS CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
TBA

The district has asked parents to complete a survey about their worries and priorities for the upcoming year.

WYOMING CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Parents' choice (In-person classes or online)

How will classes work?

Families can select a purely online school year if they wish. Like other districts, Wyoming City Schools will take its cues on in-person instruction from the Ohio Department of Health’s color-coded heat map tracking COVID-19 risk levels throughout the state.

The heat map has four tiers: Yellow (least concern), orange, red and purple (highest concern).

When Hamilton County is yellow or orange, students will attend a normal in-person class schedule from Monday to Friday.

When it turns red, the district will split students into two groups attending in-person classes on an alternating schedule (Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday) and reserve Wednesday for online learning.

At purple, all students become remote learners.

What safety measures can I expect?

Students will be required to wear a face covering at all times unless they have a documented health or developmental reason not to, district officials wrote online.

Hand sanitizer will be placed at all school and classroom entrances.

Within classrooms, furniture has been removed and rearranged to facilitate six feet of social distancing during in-person lessons. Older students — the district did not specify how old — will also receive personal barriers during class.