CPS announces new initiatives, target date for reopening plan

CPS announces new initiatives, target date for reopening plan
Cincinnati Public Schools will announce its plan for reopening in the fall by the end of June. (Source: Brian Planalp)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Early plans for CPS’s return to classes in the fall include a number of health precautions and a focus on digital learning.

In a letter from CPS Superintendent Laura Mitchell released Tuesday, the district outlined the process by which it will reopen facilities and return to schooling.

Mitchell also revealed three initiatives for when students return to school, initiatives she says will have a “positive impact on student learning” in the next school year.

“We know that the 2020/2021 academic year will be unlike any we’ve experienced before. This also means it is an opportunity to be creative, flexible, and innovative," Mitchell said. "I am confident that we will come out the other side of this experience stronger, with best practices around technology and learning that will change education forever.”

One initiative envisions CPS working with partners to provide internet access for all students, according to Mitchell. She says CPS will announce details of the program later this summer.

Another initiative, a digital academy, will see CPS provide a completely digital learning option for parents and students concerned about returning to the classroom.

Lastly, CPS will offer counseling support for children experiencing trauma as a result of COVID-19. The initiative requires teachers to receive training in social-emotional learning strategies, Mitchell says.

CPS reopened school offices to employees June 1. It will reopen school offices to the public June 15, but appointments are preferred.

As for the reopening process, Mitchell says a team comprising parents, staff, union representatives, and community members is currently creating multiple plans to guide the return to schools in the fall.

These plans will be shared with the CPS board as initial options June 10, Mitchell says. The final plan will be shared at the end of June.

Stakeholders, students, parents, and community members are encouraged to weigh in through a survey.

No matter what that plan includes, CPS will reopen with a variety of safety protocols. Those under consideration include:

General Health

  • Daily health assessments for all staff and students
  • Visitors will be limited to conducting business pertaining to enrollment or resolving emergency situations
  • Face coverings required for all staff, students, and visitors
  • Reducing shared materials in the classroom
  • Meals served in classroom

Social Distancing

  • Classroom configuration to allow for desks to be six feet apart
  • Staggered arrival and departure to allow for social distancing
  • Social distancing on school buses

Cleaning and Sanitation

  • Increased disinfecting procedures
  • Encouraging students to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer more frequently

Procedures

  • Procedures for student or staff illness reporting/tracking and designating an isolation area
  • Procedures for closing a building during an outbreak, disinfecting, and re-opening (in conjunction with local health department)
  • Procedures for staff leave and student excused absences

Training

  • Training on safety precautions for all staff and students

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