This statement responds to the complaint filed late last night by the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers union. Cincinnati Public Schools' (CPS) Office of General Counsel is reviewing the complaint and will respond in accordance with the court's schedule.
At this time, CPS is proceeding with its plan to return to blended instruction. The in-person A/B schedule begins on Tuesday, February 2, 2021, for most students in grades preschool through three and specialized classrooms.
CPS is aware of concerns that have been expressed by some staff about returning to school buildings and has been actively engaged in accommodating employees who are unable or unwilling to continue teaching or performing their jobs when students return.
Data and experience have shown that transmission of COVID-19 is low in schools that implement rigorous health protocols. In addition to implementing the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and State of Ohio guidelines for schools, CPS has assigned nurses to every school, onsite COVID testing for students through a partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and soon staff will have access to COVID rapid tests.
CPS migrated to distance learning in November due to staffing concerns. Since then, we have hired additional subs, the CDC has shortened the quarantine period for most people from fourteen to ten days, and the vaccine roll out has begun.
On Thursday, CPS employees were among the first school staff in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. By the end of the day Saturday, more than one-third of CPS teachers, instructional assistants, custodial staff, and other employees will have received the first dose of the vaccine. The vaccine roll-out will continue until all staff who want a vaccine have received both doses. CPS is grateful to Governor DeWine, the Cincinnati Health Department, and our employees for the successful implementation of the vaccination program this week.
The phase-in plan to blended learning over the next four weeks demonstrates a slow and methodical approach, during which we will continue to actively monitor staffing levels and health data. Families who prefer to continue with distance learning have the option of receiving fully remote instruction through CPS's Digital Academy (CDA). CDA has been available to our families throughout the 2020-21 school year, and has an open enrollment policy. More than 1,200 students have chosen this option.
CPS looks forward to welcoming its youngest learners and children in specialized classrooms back into our school buildings on Tuesday.