Columbus City Schools are welcoming 4th and 5th grades for their new students this week Blended learning schedule. Last week the largest public school district in Ohio opened its doors to Pre-K to 3rd grade for some personal learning.
The students are divided into two groups, who visit the class in their school building two days a week. The other three days the students study remotely.
“I’ve been to classrooms and it was really nice to see the class come alive,” said Talisa Dixon, superintendent of Columbus City Schools. “I think our teachers really prepared our students for adaptation.”
According to Dixon, 84% of expected grades K through 3 students attended class on day one.
“We have our students who are now personally involved with their teachers, while they used to do everything remotely,” says Dixon.
Columbus teachers began reception the coronavirus vaccine last week when Ohio expanded permissions for school staff in hopes of getting all students back to classrooms. Dixon says her goal is for every teacher to get their first dose of vaccine by February 18.
Since its closure in March, the district has spent approximately $ 15 million in federal CARES funding, which has been used on personal protective equipment and broadband for students who need internet access. According to Dixon, the district has purchased about 1.6 million masks for students and teachers, and every building has a 90-day supply of PPE.
“If a building needs additional PPE, we can distribute it to buildings as needed,” says Dixon.
More than $ 20 million remains in the Federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding.
“We wanted to make sure that families feel safe sending their students and that teachers feel safe going back into the building,” says Dixon. “Again, that we all had our PPE, our protocol and mitigation strategies.”
John Coneglio, president of the Columbus Education Association, says he hasn’t heard many teachers’ concerns about returning to class. However, he assumes that problems could arise later.
“Everyone is on top right now,” says Coneglio. “How do three weeks from now look like? What about six weeks from now, what about the rest of the year to make sure all of these health and safety protocols are followed? “