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Cincinnati Public Schools board president: Deciding when to return to classrooms 'no easy task'

Cincinnati Public Schools
Posted at 4:03 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 20:23:39-05

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Public Schools Wednesday released details on phasing the district's students back to a blend of remote and in-person learning, a process that will take the entire month of February.

In a statement, the CPS Board of Education's president, Carolyn Jones, said deciding when and how to return students and teachers to their classroom was "no easy task."

"Based on the advice of our health partners, the incredible job the CPS team has done implementing health and safety protocols, the very low level of transmission of the virus within our buildings, and the rollout of the vaccine to CPS staff, the majority of the board believes that it is safe to begin a slow, methodical, phased-in return to blended learning during the month of February," Jones said.

It will be a return to the blended learning schedule the district used in the fall, according to a news release, with most students and teachers returning to their classrooms two days a week. Monday will resume as the day on which all students attend classes virtually from home.

Here's how the district will roll it out:

Week of Feb. 1: pre-kindergarten through third grade, specialized classrooms

  • Monday: all students distance learning
  • Tuesday-Friday: specialized classrooms and preschool in person
  • Tuesday/Wednesday: kindergarten through third grade, group A in person
  • Thursday/Friday: kindergarten through third grade, group B in person

Week of Feb. 15: grades four through six and nine through 12 return

  • Monday: all students distance
  • Tuesday/Wednesday: group A in person
  • Thursday/Friday: group B in person

Week of March 1: grades seven and eight return

  • Monday: all students distance
  • Tuesday/Wednesday: group A in person
  • Thursday/Friday: group B in person

During a Jan. 16 meeting with the administration, the board voted to begin returning students to the classroom next month, just three days after Hamilton County appeared purple on the Ohio Department of Health’s color-coded COVID-19 risk map. The board reaffirmed that decision Wednesday evening with a 6-to-1 vote.

"The vaccine will make a critical difference in how we move forward," Jones said.

As part of the state's vaccine rollout plan, Gov. Mike DeWine ordered any school district that wished to provide vaccines for its staff had to make a formal commitment to returning students at least to part-time in-person learning by March 1.