CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The future of Cincinnati Public Schools' fall semester is still unknown after Monday’s school board meeting, but fall sports can resume.
After hearing from board members and dozens of teachers and parents, the CPS school board decided to wait for more data after concerns were raised about the Labor Day holiday.
The Labor Day holiday was brought up as a concern point wondering if there could be a potential spike in cases.
Cold and flu season right around the corner was brought up as a concern too.
Some parents also said virtual learning hasn’t worked for them and they would like their students to return to the classroom.
Here is a statement from CPS sent to FOX19 Now after Monday’s meeting:
"The Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education takes the health and safety of its students and staff seriously and is committed to continuing to use data to guide decision making. At the September 14 school board meeting, board members made the decision to meet again on September 21 to re-examine the health data of the community. Specifically, the board will review whether or not the Labor Day holiday had a negative impact on health data.
“During the meeting on September 21, a decision will be made about continuing with distance learning or shifting to a model that includes in-person learning using a phased-in approach beginning September 28. Distance learning will continue for the time being.”
The CPS school board previously voted to begin the school year with remote learning for the first five weeks to stop COVID-19 from spreading in the schools.
As for sports, the school board decided non-contact sports can start this week.
Contact sports can resume next week, the board announced.
There has been no announcement on if spectators will be allowed.
Here is what CPS said regarding sports in their statement:
“Regarding athletics, this week, non-contact sports can return to full competition and contact sports can return to intra-district games. Next week, contact sports can return to full competition. A decision regarding spectators will be forthcoming.”
For student-athletes like Taft High School senior Robert Brazziel, Monday’s decision is a gamechanger.
“You have other districts and schools are playing," explained Brazziel. “So, that’s unfair to CPS kids because we have to sit on the sidelines and not play. Sports is just not an activity for some children it’s a saving grace and safety.”
When CPS paused fall sports during the five-week remote learning period, parents like Lasaundra Jordan became proactive in reversing the board’s decision.
“Their scholarships are depending on it,” Jordan stated. “Their safety depends on it, there’s so much on the line more than just the activity.”
Jordan, fellow parents, community members, and coaches took action in response to the board’s decision.
Those who want fall sports to resume have rallied outside the last two school board meetings and even started a petition.
Some CPS parents, like Jordan, argue the risks of keeping students away from schools outweighs the risk of bringing them back during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What are the children doing at home being constrained to COVID. What’s the positive outlet,” Jordan asks. “Our inner-city youth already have enough impacts that this should not be an additional one.”
The school board will meet again on Sept. 21 21st to discuss this even further. By then they said they will have the COVID-19 data from Labor Day.