January 21, 2021
Carolyn Jones, chairman of the board of directors of Cincinnati Public Schools, issued the following statement in response to inquiries regarding the board’s decision to resume blended learning:
In a 6: 1 vote, the CPS board yesterday evening confirmed its decision that the students should return to blended learning from the week of February 1st. These decisions were and are full of emotions. In the past few months we have seen this be true regardless of whether personal or distance learning is preferred. I also weighed the subject heavily.
Balancing health and safety in a pandemic with what we, as board members, must do to provide our students with a great foundation for life is not an easy task.
Based on the advice of our health partners, the incredible work the CPS team has done in implementing health and safety protocols, the very low transmission of the virus in our buildings, and the introduction of the vaccine to CPS staff, the majority of Das Board believes it is safe to begin a slow, methodical, and gradual return to blended learning in February. Families who prefer distance learning still have the option of the Cincinnati Digital Academy.
Staff challenges were the main reason for a migration to distance learning in November. A combination of more staff, a shorter quarantine period and the vaccine will help resolve these issues. Our belief that school is one of the safest places for our students has not diminished. We are equally committed to continuing to adhere to the protocols that make our buildings the safest places for our employees and to providing vacation options for those who are classified as high risk.
The vaccine will make a huge difference in how we move forward. CPS was one of the strongest proponents of schools to be among the earliest recipients. As of today, Governor DeWine spoke to Superintendent Mitchell and made a pledge to distribute vaccines to any staff who want them as soon as possible and possibly even to speed up the schedule.
We know this is a stressful time for families, students, and our staff. As the chairman of the board, I believe my job is to guide the tough decisions before the board, with whatever information we have, even as it evolves, as well as with the academic and socio-emotional needs of our students the top of our mind. I believe that together we can lead our students and employees back to personal learning safely and thoughtfully.
Students in Preschool Grade 3 and Specialized Classes return on the week of February 1, followed by Grades 4-6 and 9-12 on the week of February 15, and Grades 7-8 on the week of March 1. Most students follow the same blended learning group A and B as in Fall 2020. All CPS students will continue with distance learning on Mondays.
Walnut Hills High School will also switch to an A / B blended learning schedule.