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Cincinnati Public Schools parents' feelings mixed about students returning to the classroom

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Posted at 5:04 PM, Feb 02, 2021

CINCINNATI — The city's public school district this week began phasing students back to a blend of in-person and remote learning after a weeks-long spike in coronavirus cases across Hamilton County and the state prompted a return to fully virtual classes.

Krystan Krailler has two kids in Cincinnati Public Schools and told WCPO she is "not happy...at all" about the district's decision to return students to their classrooms part-time. Her son went back Tuesday.

"I'm very nervous about his health and safety and about everybody in the building right now," she said.

Krailler said the remote learning model was sufficient for her kids.

"When kids are on virtual school, they have four and a half days where their day is a mix of independent work time and meets with teachers. They get interaction with their classmates and things like that. On this blended model, we're going from four and a half days to two and a half," she said.

The district's blended model has half of the student body learning in a classroom two days per week and doing independent, remote learning two days a week, and a half-day of remote instruction.

CPS also offers the Cincinnati Digital Academy as an alternative for families that prefer to learn remotely full-time.

According to the Ohio Department of Education, 376 public school districts across the state were operating with full-time, in-person instruction; 50 remained fully remote, and 183 were using a mixed approach as of Jan. 27.

On Tuesday, the Ohio Department of Health reported another below-average number of new COVID-19 cases across the state, but deaths, hospitalizations and ICU admissions remained high.

Marsha Thornton said she agrees with the district's decision to bring students back to the classroom, but only because it's a mix of remote and in-person learning.

"They're going back two days a week, not five days. So that helped with me being more comfortable," she told WCPO.

Thornton said she thinks the district -- and other districts throughout the state -- are doing their best given the circumstances.

"We are in a global pandemic. People are doing the best that they can. They are leaning on data. They're leaning on feedback. They're trying to be as accommodating as possible. No solution is going to be perfect for everybody," she said.

In addition to parents like Krailler who opposed the return to classrooms, the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers filed a lawsuit demanding the district delay its decision. A Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas judge rejected the union's complaint.