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Columbus City Schools Releases Plan for Reopening Schools

Anne Evans Anne Evans Columbus City Schools Releases Plan for Reopening SchoolsA look at the plan for reopening schools for CCS.
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What is school going to look like this Fall as the district plans for reopening schools? Columbus City School Board Members, and the nearly 1,000 people who tuned in to the Facebook Live of the board meeting on Tuesday night, got a glimpse of what returning to school for the 2020/2021 school year is going to look like.

With nearly 1,000 comments on the Facebook Live video, those that tuned in are generally not thrilled with the plan for reopening schools. Many are concerned how working parents will continue to manage this situation and it was noted that working parents were taken into consideration with the development of this plan. Many others noted concerns that the health of teachers and staff is not a priority.

The recommendations put forth by Superintendent Dixon are based on the work of the Reopening Task Force she appointed in May to analyze and discuss all possible scenarios to safely reopen schools. More than 150 people were part of the task force, including district staff, teachers, and community partners.

It is important to note that all of these recommendations for reopening schools may change as updated COVID-19 information becomes available and with changing guidance from state health and education department officials.

Grades K-8 Blended Learning Plan Option

One option is a blended learning model that combines two days of in-person instruction at school with three days of online instruction at home. Students would be placed into cohorts to provide them with the best growth-mindset group.
Two days of in-person learning at school, three days of remote learning at home:
Group A at school Monday and Tuesday, at home Wednesday through Friday
Group B at home Monday through Wednesday, at school Thursday and Friday

Students from the same family/household will attend in-person classes on the same days.

PreK Learning Options

  • Full Day Classrooms – 2 days of in-person learning at school and 3 days of remote learning at home
  • Half Day Classrooms – 4 days of in-person learning at school with option for virtual learning at home on the fifth day
  • Additional considerations for students with special needs

Grades 9-12 Options

  • Full-time remote learning at home for at least the first two quarters
    • Option #1: CCS online curriculum – pacing and instruction provided by CCS teachers
    • Option #2: Digital Academy – self-paced Apex Learning online curriculum with CCS teacher supervision
  • Future consideration for blended learning options will be given in accordance with new health and safety guidelines and feasibility.

CCS Digital Academy Option for Grades K-12

The district promises that this fully online version of school is going to be much better than what was provided for the Spring of 2020, saying “This completely-remote learning option goes above and beyond the virtual learning curriculum that CCS students and families experienced while schools were closed this past spring.” The curriculum is self-paced and CCS staff will work with students to create personalized learning experiences.

Parents will want to take note of this key date: Monday, July 13, 2020 is the first date you can opt to enroll in the CCS Digital Academy. The enrollment period is July 13 – August 1. It was noted that it is so early for parents to begin deciding this, but that it is necessary so the district can assess interest and how populated the buildings will be. Registration will be completed through the Infinite Campus Parent Portal. If you choose Digital Academy, you will not lose your lottery spot for the 2020/2021 school year, and if you withdraw from the Digital Academy, you will return to your original school.

The district notes: “Additional consideration will be given to those students with special needs, who are English Language Learners, or who are in programs that may require more in-person instruction such as career and technical education, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced Placement.”

When is the first day of school?

The first day of school for the traditional calendar for 2020/2021 is Tuesday, September 8, 2020, the day after Labor Day. The last day of school is Thursday, June 3, 2021.

Students at the District’s only year-round school, Woodcrest Elementary, will begin the school year with all-virtual classes on Wednesday, July 29. Woodcrest students will begin the blended learning schedule on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

The Academic Calendars were approved by the board and those can be found here.

Other considerations for reopening schools

Students who use transportation will be required to wear a mask, however, once they are at school, mask wearing is only recommended. The district will be providing masks if needed. Staff will be required to wear masks.

There will be social distancing measures put in place. Hand sanitizer will be available. Individual water bottles will be required as water fountains will be off limits. No in-person field trips. Limited visitors and volunteers allowed in the buildings. Families will need to do health assessments of their students each day. There will be increased cleaning needs.

Meals will be eaten in the classroom. To help students with meals on the at home learning days, six meals will be sent home the day students leave the building. High School Students will need to pickup meals at grab-and-go sites.

The district anticipates this plan to cost up to $100 million, and will cover $27 million of those costs with federal funding from the CARES Act and will be exploring other possible revenue sources and expenditure cuts.

Parent support can be found through the district’s Virtual Family Engagement Sessions. The next Virtual Family Engagement Hour is set for Tuesday, July 14. Information is coming soon.

More information can be found at ccsoh.us/reopening.

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