CPS delays return to in-person learning

Updated: Oct. 1, 2020 at 11:26 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati Public Schools will continue its remote learning model districtwide, according to a district release issued early Thursday evening.

The news follows Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s afternoon announcement that Hamilton County had returned to Level 3 ‘red’ status in the state’s public advisory map.

Hamilton County Public Health told FOX19 NOW Thursday Hamilton County’s Level 3 status was due in part to a lagging indicator of hospitalizations that seemed to put the county over the edge this week for four of seven indicators. The case rate, HCPH says, is roughly where it has been, around 50 new cases per day, meaning the county could potentially be downgraded next week.

Previously, CPS students had been scheduled to begin returning to the classroom in a blended-learning model over the last two weeks, according to the release. As recently as Wednesday, the board of education gave its approval to move forward with that plan.

The district says the board will discuss the current health situation, longer-term recommendations and athletics at its next meeting Oct. 5.

It’s a blow for some parents and students.

“My son has been so excited to go back, at least for the two days a week, so it’s disappointing to tell him that suddenly changed,” Amberly Rutherford said.

Rutherford’s son Sean is a student at the School of Creative and Performing Arts. She says he has had a hard time adjusting.

“It’s tough,” she said. “It’s a real adjustment. We’re definitely disappointed, but I also understand because I want the kids to be safe.”

“While we are extremely disappointed to have to make this decision, the right choice in this moment is to continue in our distance-learning model,” Superintendent Laura Mitchell said. “We have said since spring that we would use data to guide decisions, and that the health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority.

"As a large urban district, our families are more likely to be negatively impacted by the virus. In addition, with 36,000 students and 6,000 staff, the decisions we make exponentially impact the entire Cincinnati community.”

The district’s athletics department will notify families if there are changes to game schedules this weekend.

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