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Cincinnati Public Schools

Dear CPS Community,

Thank you for your guidance and feedback as we prepare for a return to school in the fall. We began planning in April, and we are grateful for the outpouring of questions, perspectives and ideas that have been shared in the last several weeks and months.

We heard you through participation in planning committees, focus groups and our survey of more than 6,200 employees, parents, students and community members. We have seen record-breaking participation in recent board meetings.

Earlier today, the CPS Board of Education approved a go-forward plan that we believe provides the best balance of safety and academic success for our students. This plan will return students to in-person instruction 2–3 days per week. Because no plan that includes classroom instruction is completely without health risk, we encourage families for whom in-person instruction does not make sense to explore our Cincinnati Digital Academy for the 2020–2021 school year.

Future of Schools Plan

Our guiding principles — safety and health, as much in-person learning as possible, equity, data-driven decision making and fiscal responsibility — remain at the forefront of our planning process.

Our return to school plan includes three important components:

1. Blended Learning

This model includes dividing our students into two groups in order to maintain the CDC's recommended six-feet of social distancing. Each group will receive a minimum of two-days per week in class (Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday) and will alternate attending in-person on Wednesdays. On days that students are not in the classroom, they will utilize remote learning. Students will stay in their schools, and will not spread across other buildings or community spaces.

2. Cincinnati Digital Academy

For parents and guardians concerned about their family’s or their student’s health in an in-person school environment, a full-time digital learning option is available. Our Cincinnati Digital Academy offers a K–12 curriculum which includes both virtual time with teachers and digital classroom lessons.

We are glad to have this option already in our portfolio of choices for our CPS families, as many districts are working to quickly launch a fully online option. We are spending the summer enhancing the curriculum and ensuring that we are prepared for a potential increase in enrollment.

Importantly, students who enroll in Cincinnati Digital Academy for the upcoming academic year will be able retain their position in their current CPS school for the following year. Families can also make this choice on a semester-by-semester basis. We encourage families who are interested in an existing, accredited fully-remote option to explore our Digital Academy.

If you’re considering this option, please complete our interest form and a Cincinnati Digital Academy representative will contact you.

3. The ability to quickly flex to remote learning.

Throughout both the summer and academic year, we will continue to follow guidance from Governor DeWine, the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Board of Education and the Hamilton County Health Department regarding the overall health and transmission risk within our state and the community. We are prepared to transition to a completely remote environment should that be necessary.

It’s important to note that current CDC guidance recommends schools close for two to five days for deep cleaning and monitoring of symptoms in the event of a confirmed case. Although we are currently making final decisions about when and for how long schools might close in the event of an outbreak, we all need to be prepared to make this transition quickly and smoothly.

We learned a lot during the state closure, and we also received feedback from parents and staff about how to improve the experience. As a result, remote learning will look much different than it did in the spring, including:

  • Detailed requirements in place to ensure a consistent remote learning experience,
  • Clear communication for students and families,
  • Access to technology and Wi-Fi, and
  • More robust paper packets connected to specific curriculum.

Health and Safety Protocols

We understand any return-to-school plan presents risks. For this reason, we are partnering with Cincinnati Children's Hospital to develop health and safety protocols that help protect our employees, students and families as much as possible.

These processes will be based on guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and any state direction that is provided in the next several weeks. We will be able to share specifics later this summer, and expect these protocols to include:

  • Rigorous prevention techniques, including at-home and in-school health assessments, temperature checks, and staff and student mask-wearing; and
  • Quick decision, communication, and, as necessary, isolation protocols in response to confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Access to Technology

Regardless of whether we are in-class or learning remotely, technology and internet access are essential tools for our students. Digital disparities between households is one of the greatest sources of inequity in our district. This is why we are expanding our 1:1 device program, and children grades 2–12 will have a take-home device that is safe and includes the tools needed to work from home.

In addition, we are incredibly grateful to be a part of the Cincinnati Bell "Connect Our Students" program, with support from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and other partners. This program will give all CPS students free access to Wi-Fi, and is currently in a pilot phase through July with five of our schools, Rockdale Academy, South Avondale School, Hays-Porter Elementary School, Roberts Academy and Fairview-Clifton German Language School. We expect to be able to launch the full program prior to the start of school.

Please visit our website for more details.

Please Update Your Contact Information

One of the most critical steps you can take today is to ensure your home address, phone and email are updated. Please call your school office; or Customer Care at (513) 363-0123 or email Customer Care to do so. This information is necessary to ensure all families receive updates this summer, including confirming eligibility for free internet connectivity, a survey about whether or not you intend to return your child to an in-person classroom, important by-school details and safety protocols, and transportation.

Upcoming Key Dates

JulyAugust
Launch of Cincinnati Bell 5-school pilot programCincinnati Bell Wi-Fi connectivity program
Parents and guardians update contact information for future communicationsEmployee Return-to-School meeting
Survey for parents to understand plans to return children to schoolState of the Schools, including details about returning to school
Employee meetingsTechnology and safety workshops for parents
Safety protocols finalized in partnership with Cincinnati Children's HospitalTechnology and safety workshops for students
Detailed planning by school 
Devices distributed to students without technology 
Enrollment deadline of July 17 to help ensure transportation for those who qualify 

Summer Communication Timeline

The Future is Now

While the 2020–2021 school year will be different, it creates new opportunities for us to be more innovative and flexible than ever. And through it all, our commitment will remain the same, preparing our students for life through academic achievement, personal well-being and career readiness. We will come out of this together stronger and better than ever. Thank you for your support along the way.

Sincerely,


Laura Mitchell
Superintendent

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FAQ

CPS Answers Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

At Cincinnati Public Schools, the health and safety of our students and staff are top priorities. We are in frequent contact with the Cincinnati Health Department, which is monitoring the COVID-19 situation with the Ohio Health Department and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

FAQs are updated here every Friday afternoon.

FAQ Update May 27, 2020

When do CPS school offices reopen?

Starting June 1, school office staffs will return to Cincinnati Public Schools’ buildings. They will help parents over the phone until June 15, when school offices will open to visitors wanting to register students or needing other assistance.

Elementary schools will open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

High schools and K-12 buildings will open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

To promote safe work environments, all employees and visitors must wear face masks while inside CPS buildings.


FAQ Update May 20, 2020

Will CPS continue to distribute free breakfasts and lunches after May 21 (last day of 2019-20 school year)?

Yes, CPS' meal distribution will continue until at least June 30, 2020. 

Meals are distributed on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays on a first-come, first-served basis, with four meals (two breakfasts and two lunches) on Mondays and Wednesdays, and two meals (one breakfast and one lunch) on Fridays.

CPS' meal distribution sites


FAQ Update May 15, 2020

When must students return the devices (iPads, etc.) that CPS distributed for use during the mandated school closure?

For now, we are only collecting devices back from graduating seniors. Other students may continue to use CPS-issued devices to keep up with schoolwork and academic enrichment.

Details for graduating seniors on returning devices.


FAQ Update May 8, 2020

I've heard CPS is doing drive-through "graduation parades." Will the parades be live streamed?

Yes! You can watch the parades live on YouTube. The specific link for each high school will be posted on CPS' social media accounts 30 minutes before each parade begins.

Dates and times of CPS’ Graduation Parades for Class of 2020 

My child had medication stored at school. How can I get it now?

All medication at schools was collected by the Cincinnati Health Department shortly after Gov. Mike DeWine mandated that schools would close on March 17. CPS parents and guardians can arrange to pick up their children's medication by calling the Health Department’s School and Adolescent Health program: (513) 357-2824.

Details on services offered by School and Adolescent Health program.


FAQ Update April 28, 2020

I'm looking for more free ways to engage my children while schools are closed — any ideas?

BrainPOP, an animated educational website for children, is offering free access to schoolchildren during the COVID-19 shut down.

BrainPOP is offering the access to anyone who requests a free subscription during the mandatory school closure. 

In addition to educational programming, BrainPop also provides content on the coronavirus, including tips on proper hand washing.


FAQ Update April 27, 2020

We don't have cable TV — any educational programming available for us?

Try CET, Channel 48, Cincinnati’s local PBS station. It has changed daytime programming to include additional educational and child-friendly shows to keep students engaged in learning.

The programming airs from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Cable or internet access is not necessary to view CET.

The programming, grouped by grade level, covers subjects from outer space to history to adventure.

CET Offering Child-Friendly Programming During COVID-19 Shutdown


FAQ Update April 24, 2020

What about summer school — will it happen?

Cincinnati Public Schools will offer summer learning from June 2-26, 2020, for high school students, but it will differ from previous summers due to the COVID-19 shutdown.

Summer Learning 2020 will be held remotely — not inside school buildings. Classes will be delivered via remote learning from 8 a.m. to noon or 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Summer Learning 2020 will be for credit recovery only in the core courses of English, Math, Science, Social Studies, for students in grades 9-12. Students in grades 7 and 8 will be considered. Counselors will reach out to students in need of credit recovery to enroll them in Summer Learning.


FAQ Update April 21, 2020

How else is CPS providing enrichment lessons during the mandatory COVID-19 school closure?

Try CPS TV!

On April 20, 2020, Cincinnati Public Schools launched CPS TV on community access cable channels. It features recorded online lessons by CPS teachers, and educational programming from zoos, libraries and museums.

CPS TV begins at 7:30 a.m. Monday through Friday through two cable providers: Cincinnati Bell Channel 804 and Spectrum Channel 15. 

Literacy is the programming focus on Mondays and Wednesdays, with a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) focus on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Fridays feature fun programming from museums, parks, libraries and others.

Get full CPS TV details here.  


FAQ Update April 20, 2020

How are grades being calculated during the COVIC-19 school closure?

Teachers will issue grades of pass or incomplete for the last nine-week period of the 2019-20 academic year. On March 16, 2020, teachers and students transitioned to remote learning when Governor Mike DeWine closed schools to curb the spread of COVID-19.

A passing grade indicates students completed schoolwork, such as CPS’ grade-level enrichment packet or assignments posted by teachers in Schoology.

A grade of incomplete indicates students completed little or no schoolwork, or the teacher could not reach the student via email or phone during the school closure.

Details about grading during school closure.


FAQ Update April 13, 2020

Why is CPS is no longer using Zoom Video Conferencing to connect with students?

Cincinnati Public Schools prohibited the use of Zoom starting April 13, 2020, due to severe security issues that have been discovered. The FBI is investigating reports of uninvited people joining Zoom video conferences and inserting inappropriate photos and material.

CPS supports the use of Google Meet and BlueJeans for video conferencing.


FAQ Update April 10, 2020

I don't speak English very well. Who can help me get answers to my CPS questions?

Native speakers of Spanish, French, Arabic and Nepali now can call and leave messages in their native languages. Bilingual CPS staff will return the calls.

  • Spanish: (513) 363-3251
  • French and Arabic: (513) 363-3073
  • Nepali: (513) 363-3745

FAQ Update April 4, 2020

How do I reach Cincinnati Public Schools during this extended closure?

Call (513) 363-0123 to reach the CPS COVID-19 Information Hotline.

At this number, you will be prompted to select from a variety of topics, including our meal-distribution program, enrichment learning packets for students, and ways to support CPS' students and families during this closure. You also may speak to a CPS representative.

You also may contact CPS via email on our website.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, the Cincinnati Health Department asks that you call your primary care doctor or call the Cincinnati Health Department's Hotline: (513) 357-7462.

You also may call the Ohio Department of Health's COVID-19 Helpline: (833) 427-5634

I've paid tuition for preschool classes that are closed. Will I get my money back?

After this COVID-19 school closure ends and CPS returns to normal operations, parents who paid preschool tuition will be reimbursed for the number of days that schools were closed (if the account is up to date and payments are not late for days a child attended preschool classes).

It also is not necessary for parents to continue paying tuition during this closure (again, if the account is up to date).


What is coronavirus?

Coronavirus — now named COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) by the World Health Organization — is a new version of a common virus. It was first identified in 2019 in Wuhan, China, and now has spread worldwide.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms include respiratory illness with a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death.

What can I do to help prevent getting sick?

The Ohio Department of Health and the Cincinnati Health Department recommend these precautions to reduce the risk of infection:

  • Wash your hands often for 20 seconds or more with soapy water.
  • If soap and water are unavailable, use hand sanitizer — an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol is best; rub it on hands until the sanitizer dries. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing to help stop the spread of airborne germs.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to keep germs from entering. 
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are sick (except to visit health-care professionals) and avoid contact with others.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals.

Seek medical advice from a health-care professional before initiating self-quarantine.

How can I help spread some good news during this unprecedented school closure?

Use the hashtag #CPSUnited on social media to help us spread good vibes. For example, tell us about any fun activities you and your family are doing to keep boredom away, or acts of kindness you've witnessed from your friends and neighbors. 

With schools closed, how will classroom instruction continue?

CPS teachers have prepared weekly lesson plans for students to support continued learning. These enrichment learning packets were sent home with students and also can be accessed online via Schoology and on our website.

The packets contain work for students in the core content areas — English, math, science and social studies — with ways for students to test themselves and offering help sections by grade level. 

My child doesn't have an enrichment learning packet. What can I do? 

Students who have not received enrichment learning packets can access them online via Schoology. They can also be found on our website.

Will CPS be providing meals while schools are closed?

We will continue to provide breakfast and lunch meals during the extended break.

Cincinnati Public Schools' Student Dining Services Department is distributing meals at school sites located around the district. Click here for a list of sites, dates and hours of meal distribution, and additional information.  

What is Cincinnati Public Schools doing to help prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into our schools?

Cincinnati Public Schools has closed all of it buildings, including the Central Office, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In the time before the decision to close was made by Ohio Gov. DeWine, CPS did the following: 

  • Instructed our custodial staff to do extra cleaning and sanitation of all school buildings, including enhanced cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets and keyboards
  • Provided instructions to students and staff about properly washing hands 
  • Instructed our yellow-bus vendors to do extra cleaning and sanitation 

How will this time missed from school be recorded?

Students missing classes because schools are closed receive excused absences.

Why did it take so long to close the school district?

Many of our students and their families depend on CPS for meals and other services, and we believe that classroom instruction is valuable to learning.  We were monitoring the COVID-19 situation daily with input from the Cincinnati Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health. Given how this situation changes daily, we wanted to give parents as much time as possible to prepare for a closure. The health of our students and staff remains our highest priority. 

Has CPS canceled student activities?

While schools are closed, all sports, field trips and after-school activities are canceled.

Cincinnati Public Schools also has canceled all district-sponsored international and domestic travel for students and staff. 

What is being done to clean yellow school buses?

CPS instructed our yellow-bus vendors to do extra cleaning and sanitation of all vehicles, with special attention to hand rails and other places that students and drivers touch frequently.

What about cleaning for the Metro buses that our high school students ride?

Metro officials are cleaning buses with a chlorinated sanitizing disinfectant to all inside surfaces, including poles, stanchions and seats. A special sprayer is being used to help the disinfectant adhere to surfaces.

News Public Affairs Department

Office of Communications and Engagement

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

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Cincinnati Health Dept. Hotline
(513) 357-7462

Ohio Dept. of Health
COVID-19 Call Center
(833) 4-ASK-ODH
(833) 427-5634
9 a.m. - 8 p.m.