Cincinnati Public Schools announced that spring break has been extended one day.
Classes will resume on March 31 instead of March 30 to "allow additional time for teachers to prepare for students' return to in-person instruction five days a week."
The CPS Board of Education voted to return to weeklong in-person instruction in March, including for Walnut Hills High School. Walnut will begin a "phased-in approach" with grades 7-9 returning to the classroom on March 31 and grades 10-12 returning April 6.
In person safety protocols CPS will be enacting include:
- Universal masking
- Hand and bathroom hygiene
- Achieving 4–6 air changes per hour of "clean" air through any combination of ventilation and filtration (or outdoor classrooms)
- Physical distancing, 6-feet where possible
- Isolation, quarantine, and contact tracing practices
- Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities
Those uncomfortable with returning to the classroom have the option of enrolling their kids in the Cincinnati Digital Academy or doing distance learning "through their current school using the Schoology platform," says CPS.
And, CPS says, "Since Walnut Hills High School has been in distance learning the entire year, they will be part of a concurrent learning pilot program, which provides an option for five-day per week distance learning following a student's current schedule."
There has been controversy from some Walnut Hills High School parents surrounding the return to the classroom, as well as the new pilot program.
An open letter from 130 of them in the group WHHS Parents for Remote Learning 2020–21 cited concerns about the school's ability to host live-streaming, the loud ventilation system and the inability to maintain proper social distancing, with attorney Richard Ganulin writing in an email on behalf of the group: "WHHS Parents for Remote Learning 2020-21 remains very concerned that Cincinnati Public Schools remains on a path to both impose increased health risk on WHHS students while simultaneously diminishing the quality of their education. The worst of both worlds. After all this time, CPS remains unable to provide a viable live-streaming option for WHHS students and safe physical distancing."
You can read the full letter below.
New guidance from the CDC says that despite previous social distancing regulations, 3 feet of distance is now acceptable in schools. If there is a high incidence of COVID in an area, those in middle and high school should revert to a 6-foot distance, "if cohorting is not possible." The CDC defines "cohorting" as grouping the same students and staff together throughout the day to reduce viral transmission.
The decrease in social distance regulations comes as educators face pressure to return to fully in-person learning.
President Biden said it is his goal to reopen all K-8 schools in the country and get kids back in the classroom before the end of his first 100 days, and issued a "five-step" roadmap for doing so.