Parents, Students, Community To Rally for Safe Reopen of Cincinnati Public Schools at Board of Education

The rally will take place from 6-9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3 in the parking lot of the Board of Education at 2651 Burnet Ave.

click to enlarge Parents, Students, Community To Rally for Safe Reopen of Cincinnati Public Schools at Board of Education
Photo: Event Flyer

The Cincinnati chapter of Our Revolution, a progressive advocacy group that grew out of Bernie Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign, the Cincinnati Socialist Alternative and Democratic Socialists of America of Metro Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky are hosting a rally on Monday for the safe reopening of Cincinnati Public Schools.

From 6-9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 3, they will be set up in the parking lot of the Board of Education at 2651 Burnet Ave.

The event description reads:

'This is a rally of parents, students, and any other community members who feel that the CPS Board should not reopen for in-person schooling until it is safe for *all* students.

This rally will be in-person in the parking lot of the Board of Education because they have not listened to us when we stayed at home to speak. We expected them to make the right decision for our children, but they failed to do so. So we will have to make our demands in-person before and during their meeting. Loudly and consistently."

The DSA says a group of Cincinnati Public Schools teachers have created a Facebook page and campaign to call for a safe reopening of schools, which got more than 1,500 signatures in four days.

There is no dress code but they suggest wearing "Red for Ed" to show solidarity with teachers.

They also have four notes for how they will approach COVID safety:

1.) Wearing masks (if you do not have one we will provide one for you. Without a mask you will be asked to leave.)

2.) Practicing a safe social distance of at least 6 feet from any non-household member.

3.) When chanting or speaking, maintaining a distance of 12 feet from any non-household member.

4.) Cleaning and disinfecting any microphones or megaphones used at the rally in between speakers.

The Cincinnati Federation of Teachers sent out a press release saying the protest is not a CFT sponsored event and that they do not encourage their members to "gather in a large group and engage in activities that could be dangerous to the health of participants and undermine our message to the Board, or our partnerships with parents."

The protest will occur during the Board of Education's meeting to make final recommendations regarding how to reopen schools later this month.

The release from CFT says, "CFT leaders have been talking with the Board and Administrators over the last month on how and when schools can safely welcome students back. The Ohio Health Department continues to rate Hamilton County as 'Red', described as a 'Public Health Emergency', with a 'very high exposure and spread' of COVID-19. In the City of Cincinnati conditions are likely worse. CFT has repeatedly told the Board and Superintendent that under these conditions, it is unsafe for students, school staff and their families to reopen schools to students, even with the blended learning model currently planned. We remain optimistic that our Board will make the right decision to protect CFT/CFOP members, students, our families and community."

The Ohio Education Association and its Board of Directors recently issued a statement saying "that Ohio’s schools and campuses should only reopen for in-person instruction when conditions are met that ensure the safety of students, educators, education support professionals, their families and communities."

But 69% of OEA's educators across the state don't believe schools will be able to safely reopen this fall.

In light of this, they are urging those institutions in counties that are classified as red (Level 3) or purple (Level 4) under Ohio’s Public Health Advisory Alert System — which means there is very high to severe exposure and spread of COVID-19 — to move to a full remote learning system and close to in-person instruction until the alert levels drop to orange (Level 2) or yellow (Level 1). Then, schools should only open to in-person instruction if all Centers for Disease Control safety requirements can be met, with a minimum buffer of two weeks to allow for the transition from remote to in-person learning.

In a press release issued July 28, the American Federation of Teachers said it will “use every action and tool available to fight unsafe school reopening plans — including supporting local and/or state affiliate safety strikes on a case-by-case basis as a last resort.”

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