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Back to School FAQs

Here are answers to frequently asked questions concerning the reopening of schools for 2020–2021. 

Read the Family Guide to Success in Distance Learning 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.

We Want to Reach You

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

You can 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

Distance Learning Begins November 23 for CPS

What does the switch to distance learning mean?

School will look like it did at the beginning of the 2020–21 school year with students learning from home.

What about sports - how is CPS keeping people safe?

For the safety of our students and audiences at games, Cincinnati Public Schools has set the following safety rules:

  • Games will be live streamed.
  • Only members of the news media and college coaches with credentials for recruitment purposes are permitted to attend games.  
  • Wearing face masks is required at all times during games for coaches and all others in attendance. 
  • Student athletes must have their face masks on whenever they are not actively participating in the game. 

The Board will discuss athletics further at its December 2020 meetings.

What about children who are doing distance learning from their home schools, a recent option CPS offered?

Students who signed up to participate in distance learning from their current schools will remain in distance learning the week of November 16, accessing assignments through Schoology. They will move to the five-day per week distance learning schedule with their classmates on Monday, November 23, 2020.

Can I get my child's stuff from school?

Not after November 23. Please remind your child to bring home belongings from school during the week of November 16.

Why was the decision made to return to distance learning?

This decision was made primarily as a result of staffing challenges across CPS due to rising COVID-19 cases throughout Greater Cincinnati.

When will students come back to school?

Students will remain in distance learning through Winter Break, returning to a blended-learning model on Monday, January 4, 2021, pending an improvement in community health data that currently is causing staffing challenges across CPS.

What does distance learning mean?

Distance learning means students will be taught using on-grade-level, high-quality online instruction from their teachers. Distance learning may occur at home, with a child-care provider, or in any setting other than a school building.

Although students will not be in classrooms, they will have their teachers’ support for success. Whether meeting live with teachers or working independently, students are not alone in this.

What does a distance learning "school day" look like? Are children expected to be in front of their computers at the same times that they would typically be in a classroom?

Information about a sample school day can be found here.

Will students in our specialized classrooms and young students return to classes sooner than January 4?

No, students in specialized classrooms and our students in preschool to third grade will remain in distance learning until January 4, 2021, due to health risks associated with the community spread of COVID-19, and concerns about staffing and consistency.   

Will CPS provide meals during distance learning and over the break?

Yes, CPS will hand out free meal packs to cover the Thanksgiving Break and when the district moves into at-home distance learning on November 23.

On Tuesday, November 24, CPS will provide remote meal packs for our students and other children age 18 and under to eat over the Thanksgiving Break (November 25-29). Meal packs will be given out at all schools (except Lighthouse School and Rising Stars at Cheviot/Westwood).

On Wednesdays in December — December 2, 9 and 16 — CPS' Student Dining Services will hand out meal packs at all schools (except Lighthouse and Rising Stars at Cheviot/Westwood).

Each remote meal pack contains five breakfasts, five lunches and four weekend snack packs. 

Meal pack distribution times:

  • Elementary schools — 7 a.m. – noon
  • Secondary and K-12 schools — noon – 5 p.m.

I signed my child up for Cincinnati Digital Academy. May I switch back to the original school?

Students enrolled in CDA may return to their original schools by calling the school office or emailing CPS’ Customer Care Center

Will school offices remain open while CPS is in distance learning?

Yes, school offices will be open from 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Will the Central Office be open while CPS is in distance learning?

Yes, the Central Office at CPS Education Center will remain open during distance learning.  

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CPS' Customer Care Center currently is open to visits from the public only by appointment. Appointments are made online and available 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Will distance learning packets be provided?

CPS' has a distance learning website that is designed to give families and students information and resources needed for a successful academic year.

How will you teach students with special needs?

All students with special needs will continue to receive services while CPS is in a distance-learning model. Intervention specialists and related services staff will develop schedules to support students in classes and with additional support time. The supports and services a student receives will be delivered based on individual need and the student's ability to access virtual learning.

Further, students with special needs will have access to the same district technology as all students. In some cases, IEP teams may decide that a different device is more appropriate and will work with families to make that switch. In addition, the district is making plans to ensure that students with assistive technology and/or augmentative and alternative communication devices have access to needed devices.

What processes are in place for English-languages learners?

They will continue to receive support in a distance learning environment according to their level of proficiency. English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) staff who teach content-area courses will continue to do so remotely, while other ESOL specialists will develop schedules to support the students on their caseload. All English learners will have access to CPS laptops or other devices that are appropriate for their individual needs. Families will work with their school-level team to resolve individual concerns. Interpreters will continue to be made available.

Will extracurricular activities continue during distance learning?

  • Clubs will continue virtually.
  • Athletics will continue as is.
  • Band will continue as is.

What services will continue during distance learning? 

  • Health Centers  
  • Mental health services — continue via telehealth
  • Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy — continue via telehealth
  • Nurses — continue testing students by appointment in health offices at schools

Where can I get help with technology?

Visit the CPS Learning Technologies YouTube channel for help with technology and devices.

Technology throws a curve ball occasionally when software is going haywire or a laptop simply will not start.

For CPS students and their families, help is a phone call away by dialing the Family Technology Support Center, (513) 363-0688 or emailing. Tech support is available in English and Spanish from 8 a.m.– 6 p.m., Monday through Friday when school is in session.

The Family Technology Support Center has been created to assist students and their families when they are not at a CPS school. The move is in response to feedback received from families during the district's recent Parent Town Hall meetings.

Some examples of available tech support include:

  • Resetting passwords for Google, Schoology and PowerSchool
  • Troubleshooting connection issues
  • Logging into the computer
  • Offering assistance with Google Meet, Calendar, Gmail and standard software
  • Coordinating the repair of a CPS device that is damaged, broken or not working

Is free Wi-Fi available for CPS students? 

Yes, through the Connect Our Students partnership with Cincinnati Bell, which provides free internet to CPS students' homes. The program began in July and is available to all CPS students. Cincinnati Bell began contacting CPS families in August to offer the free Internet hookup. Call (513) 566-3895 to start the process to get free Wi-Fi from Cincinnati Bell. (Por Espanol, por favor llame (513) 566-3894.)

To participate in Connect our Students, CPS must have correct contact information for you. 

Update your family's contact information online (names, addresses, phone numbers) by calling your child's school office. Also, CPS' Customer Care Center team is available to help: (513) 363-0123 and email.

More Connect Our Students information and printable fliers

Cincinnati Bell turned me down for free internet — can you help?

CPS wants you to have free internet in your home so your child can fully participate in learning. If you encounter problems with the Connect Our Students free internet hook up, please send your name, address, phone number and the reason given by Cincinnati Bell to this email.

There are several reasons why Cincinnati Bell may not be able to quickly bring internet into all houses, including:

  • Address cannot be verified; address is not correct — Addresses are very tricky, unfortunately. There often are differences with how the address is listed in CPS' PowerSchool and how it is officially listed with the U.S. Post Office. If the official address does not match PowerSchool, it will need to be corrected by calling your child’s school. Please wait 72 hours after the update is made in PowerSchool before calling Cincinnati Bell to try again.
  • A neighborhood area is 'full' or 'at capacity' for internet service — This has become a problem recently in at least two areas around our schools. Cincinnati Bell has committed to expanding service as quickly as possible to locations that fill up. Cincinnati Bell will contact families to let them know when capacity has been increased.
  • Up-selling; outstanding bill — There should be no attempts by Cincinnati Bell representatives to up-sell trying to get families to buy additional services with the free internet. And, the free internet offer is available even if a family has an outstanding balance; no one should be turned away from the Connect Our Students program for having an unpaid bill with Cincinnati Bell. Cincinnati Bell has committed to continuing to train their call-center operators and refine their messaging to eliminate these issues.
  • Wiring costs — Wiring costs, if any, must be paid by the family. This will occur if the interior of a building has not been wired previously for cable internet, or needs repairs or renovation to accommodate Cincinnati Bell’s wiring. Due to liability for performing wiring and construction inside a location, Cincinnati Bell cannot eliminate or supplement these fees so they must be paid by the family.

News Public Affairs Department

Office of Communications and Engagement

Email: media@cps-k12.org
Phone: (513) 363-0020

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