CINCINNATI — As Cincinnati Public Schools district officials planned to meet Saturday to review their COVID-19 safety plan, one couple urged board of education members to prioritize making in-person instruction, or a blend of in-person and remote learning, an option again.
Scott and Katrina Hardy said they and their three children -- all CPS students -- have rolled with the punches the last 10 months after the district went fully remote in light of the coronavirus pandemic reaching the Tri-State. With the exception of a short period before the Thanksgiving holiday break, CPS students have not seen their classrooms since March.
"CPS administrators and board members are the ones who have kept our schools closed while other school districts have returned," the Hardys wrote. "Now is the time for you to offer the children and parents of CPS the option to return to 'in person' learning."
Scott Hardy told WCPO Friday that he thinks it's time the district adjust its plan based on the latest data and recommendations by health officials.
"We just thought that, as the guidelines change, it's time for Cincinnati public to step up and adjust their policies and adjust their criteria for getting kids back into school," he said. "When I see friends at work and they say, 'Oh, how are your kids doing in school?' they are shocked when I tell them they're not in school."
In their letter, the Hardys pointed to state officials' decision to suspend the requirement that any K-12 student exposed to COVID-19 quarantine at home for two weeks and attend school virtually and to other nearby districts that have since returned to blended instruction models.
"It just would be so much easier for the kids, and I know for the teachers, to be in school, where they can pull out groups and have different groups working on different things," Katrina Hardy said.
They are also hopeful the rollout of vaccines will convince district leaders at least to offer the option to send kids back to the classroom.
"Above anything else, we believe in choices for people," Scott Hardy said.
WCPO reached out to CPS Friday but did not immediately hear back. The CPS Board of Education will meet with Superintendent Laura Mitchell at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
Per Gov. Mike DeWine, an Ohio school can be eligible to receive vaccinations for its staff only if they indicate by Monday, Jan. 18, a plan to return to in-person learning by March 1. The Ohio Department of Health said schools can submit such plans later than Monday, but those schools will sit further down the list for vaccination delivery.
Read the Hardys' full letter to CPS officials in the viewer below: