CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati Public Schools intended students to return to a virtual classroom to begin the school year, but it appears not all of them have made it there yet.
At a CPS board meeting Wednesday night, it was revealed thousands of students are not able to learn online from home, meaning they’ve missed the first two weeks of school.
“From my perspective, how big of a deal is that on a scale of one to 10? It feels like a 10,” Board Member Ben Lindy said. “You have 5,000 students that can’t go to school.”
Lindy conjured up the 5,000 figure, though it remains unclear exactly how many students are not connected.
According to Board Member Mike Moroski, 28,000 CPS students have logged in to the district’s virtual portal so far.
“All told, I’m proud of what we’ve done,” Moroski said. “As you know, I would be the first to say if we weren’t, if we were doing a poor job, but I don’t think we are. I think we’re doing a good job. But we need to find those kids because two weeks have gone by.”
CPS handed out 32,000 laptops over the summer so students could learn from home. Additionally, Cincinnati Bell’s Connect Our Students program is working to connect CPS families to the internet, but as of now WiFi activation is just 40 percent completed, a number Moroski calls “unacceptable.”
A technology support center is now available to help students and families encountering technology problems when they are outside the classroom.
Moroski says there are other reasons families aren’t connected than technical issues.
“You have some folks who say, ’I’m just not going back to school until after Labor Day.’ It’s how it is,” he said. “You have housing insecure families living in shelters and moving around, and now that’s compounded with COVID.
“Third, you have students who have custody issues (...) some of the custody arrangements are summer with dad or mom, which is in another city, so they’re not even back yet.”
Moroski adds the district is dealing with outdated addresses phone numbers and addresses for CPS families and encourages families to update their contact information.
“If we can’t find you, we can’t help you,” he said.