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Back to School FAQs

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about school operations during the 2021–22 school year. 

Read CPS' District Safety Plan

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I have questions not addressed here — who can help me?

Your child's school office and our Customer Care Center team are available to answer your questions. Customer Care Center: (513) 363-0123 or email.

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How can I update my address and phone numbers so I receive all necessary information from my child's school and Cincinnati Public Schools?

Please update your family's contact information (names, addresses, phone numbers) by calling or visiting your child’s school. Or, contact CPS' Customer Care Center: email or phone - (513) 363-0123

In-Person Learning Begins Thursday, August 19

Back to school, back to the classroom! Cincinnati Public Schools will resume five-days-a-week, in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year.

In-person learning is critical for most students. They have a richer academic experience and better social-emotional support while in-person with teachers and staff.

Distance Learning

Cincinnati Digital Academy is an alternative, technology-based learning option for families who do not wish to send their children to in-person school. It will be the only distance option for the 2021-22 school year.

Cincinnati Digital Academy students will have flexible access to online curriculum to accommodate their unique needs and schedule. Learn what is new this year at Cincinnati Digital Academy.

Why was the decision made to return in person?

In-person learning is safe:

  • Vaccination rates. About 70 percent of CPS staff have been vaccinated against COVID-19 through district efforts — higher than the state and local average — and student vaccine availability will increase.
  • Proven safety protocolsOur District Safety Plan, based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ensures we maintain a healthy environment. It includes face mask requirements for students, staff and parents; social distancing; robust cleaning and disinfecting procedures; improved indoor air quality; and more.
  • Low transmission rates. As demonstrated in the spring, our safety protocols result in low transmission rates of COVID-19.

What will safety protocols look like for the return to school?

At its July 19 meeting, the Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education agreed to amend the district's COVID-19 safety protocols that were implemented at the onset of the 2020-2021 school year. 

The following updates are effective for the 2021-2022 school year:

No longer required:

  • Temperature checks at building entrances
  • Staggered bus arrival and departure

Now permitted:

  • Field trips
  • Visitors and volunteers in school buildings and must follow all safety protocols
  • Shared materials among students, such as crayons, pencils, etc.
  • Three-feet minimum social distancing during meals when masks are removed

All other safety precautions, such as hand hygiene, disinfecting surfaces, ventilation and isolation rooms remain in placeHere is a link to the updated safety guide for additional details.

Are masks required?

Our Mask Policy is continued.

  • Universal masking, regardless of vaccination status, is required when inside CPS buildings.
  • This includes during work and school, as well as during afterschool programs, athletics, and extracurriculars.

Will CPS hold my child's seat at a magnet, neighborhood or high school for the 2022-23 school year? 

Yes, if the departure is COVID-19 related. Next steps will be shared on the CPS webpage as we move closer to lottery season. 

If a student has to quarantine, how do they make up their school work?

Students who must Quarantine during the 2021-2022 Academic School will follow their teacher's procedures to make up work similar to as if they were absent because of an illness.

Teachers will post at least every two weeks to their Learning Management System, Schoology* in Student Friendly Language:

  • Learning Outcomes
  • Materials if available
  • Assignments
  • Due Dates

*Ethel Taylor and Aiken use Echo as their Learning Management System

What will meal times look like?

Each school will come up with its own plan with dining services for meal times. There is a three-feet minimum social distancing during meals when masks are removed.

Schools may use strategies that include a combination of classrooms and cafeterias for eating spaces along with the possibility of outside eating and using gym areas, as well as staggered meal times. 

Will there still be remote meals?

Cincinnati Public Schools' Student Dining Services is committed to providing meals throughout the 2021–22 school year.

Beginning August 18, five-day remote meal packs will be available on Wednesdays from 7-9 a.m. and 3-5 p.m. at Virtual High School, 425 Ezzard Charles Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45203.

My family would like to remain in distance learning. What are our options?

Families who prefer five-day per week distance learning may enroll in Cincinnati Digital Academy (CDA).

What if my CPS-issued device is not working?

With the return of five-day, in-person instruction on August 19, CPS is returning to normal operations for device swaps. Students will report device issues when they are at school and be provided a device on site to trade.

Families still experiencing device issues should contact the Family Technology Support Desk or call (513) 363-0688. 

What ventilation updates have been implemented?

CPS is following the guidelines from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioners Engineers (ASHRAE). This includes:

  • Six air exchanges/hour/space
  • Two-hour building flush out prior to occupancy every day
  • Increase air filtration to as high as possible without significantly diminishing design airflow
  • Confirm proper filter fit to minimize filter bypass
  • Confirm all exhaust fans are working properly
  • COVID + Procedures in place and tested
  • Filter changes as recommended by equipment manufacturers or quarterly
  • Monthly filter inspections documented by Building Engineers and confirmed by Supervisors

What are the bus safety protocols?

Masks are still required at all times on buses, however social distancing on buses may be reduced. Yellow buses could be two students per seat. Yellow buses and Metro buses are disinfected on a regular basis. Metro buses provide hand sanitizing stations on board. 

Will buses be cleaned?

School buses will be disinfected daily.

While riding yellow buses and Metro buses, students should wear a mask (cloth face covering) and keep as far apart as possible in seats and aisles.

On yellow buses, seats will be assigned two students per seat. (With the priority of siblings sitting together). Bus monitors will be on board yellow buses to help students follow these new safety procedures.

Because buses are smaller, enclosed spaces, they create additional risk even with safety precautions in place. We encourage parents and guardians who can drive their children to and from school to do so.

Parents can contact Metro at (513) 632-7528 or email for Metro bus route information.

Will we continue to do temperature screenings at morning arrival? 

Temperature checks at building entrances are no longer required.

What will be the quarantine process?

  • If a student has been identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 positive person at school, the student's family will be notified. The student may continue to attend school while free of COVID symptoms.
  • If the student develops symptoms, the student will quarantine at home.
  • Please note that if the exposure is from a friend or family who is a close contact outside the school environment, original quarantine rules apply.
  • These updated processes also apply to CPS employees.
  • More information on our District's safety plan.

What about sports — how is CPS keeping people safe?

Read the CPS Athletics Update for Fall 2021-22.

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