CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Public School board met on Saturday to discuss next steps for students after the district decided to switch to remote learning from Jan. 12 to Jan. 24 and said it is confident students will return in-person as planned.
The board announced the move to virtual instruction on Jan. 10 as a result of staffing shortages. In a presentation on Jan. 10, CPS said 786 school-based employees called in sick Thursday, Jan. 6. When schools went remote in November 2020, CPS reported 780 absences.
On Saturday, parents said they're eager to see kids back in the classroom once more.
"The scars have not healed from last year," said Steve Simon, whose son is a senior at Walnut Hills High School. "And while we understand with staff shortages and omicron, we don't want to see this extend."
Interim superintendent Tianay Amat said during Saturday's meeting that the district is very confident about returning on Jan. 24. Since the shift to remote learning, the district has accelerated hiring new substitutes: 35 new substitutes are currently onboarding and another 13 will start that process next week.
The district is also stepping up safety and cleaning protocols and providing opportunities for vaccinations, boosters and testing for students and staff.
"I want my son to have the most normal senior year he can and we know the virus has disrupted that, but kids priorities, being in school, that should be the top priority," said Simon.
Simon said the meeting was a good sign, but he'd like a commitment from the board moving forward that schooling will stay in-person. The district has warned there is a possibility in the future that certain schools may need to transition to remote learning if there is an outbreak at that location.
"I know there's logistical problems, I know there are top teachers who might be worried about being in school during COVID, I get all that," said Simon. "But I just want to make sure at all times they keep the kids' interest at the top."