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FAQ: Cincinnati Public Schools' new back-to-school plan

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Posted at 11:40 AM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-04 14:22:54-04

Cincinnati Public Schools on Monday night made big changes to its 2020 back-to-school plan, which would originally have sent students back to some in-person classes at the beginning of the fall semester. Here's what you need to know.

What is the plan right now?

Students will learn from home for at least the first five weeks of the fall semester, which starts Aug. 24.

“At least?”

According to Monday night’s proposal, students could return to the original blended learning model as early as Sept. 28, but only if district officials deem it safe to do so.

For that to happen, Cincinnati would have to see a "sustained daily decline" in new COVID-19 cases over a two-week period and a positivity rate (the percentage of positive cases out of total tests performed) equal to or under 5%.

The Ohio Department of Health would also need to move Hamilton County down to one of the two lower levels — yellow or orange — on its color-coded public health advisory system. If the county remains red or purple, indicating high levels of COVID-19 spread, students will continue to learn remotely.

If the district decided to move forward with its original plan when conditions are safe enough, students will be divided into two groups. Each group will attend two days of in-person class each week, then learn online for the remaining three.

My family doesn’t have reliable Wi-Fi or enough devices for my children. What do we do?

Cincinanti Bell has volunteered to offer free Wi-Fi to every CPS student. According to the district, the company began contacting CPS families on Aug. 3.

CPS plans to issue iPads to pre-K students, kindergarteners and first-graders. Children in grades 2-12 will get personal laptops. Here’s more information about when and where to pick up your child’s device.

What about children who depend on their school for breakfast and lunch?

Students can pick up a week’s worth of meals at once from their school, according to superintendent Laura Mitchell.

Let’s say we go back to some in-person classes. How will my child be protected then?

Students and staff will be required to wear masks on buses, in hallways and in classrooms, according to Mitchell.

CPS will conduct temperature checks, enforce six feet of social distancing and require hand-washing before meals. Custodians will also deep clean classrooms and school spaces.

I want to talk to someone from the district about my opinion or how this will affect my family.

CPS will hold a virtual town hall for parents on Aug. 10 at 4 p.m. You can learn more about the event and get a link to the virtual meeting here.