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Columbus City Schools release recommendations to reopen this fall; 2 days in-person for K-8 students, all remote for high school

The district says the recommendations will follow COVID-19 guidelines and guidance from local, state and federal health officials.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Not all students at Columbus City Schools will be back in the classroom at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year in a plan released by the district.

The school year will also start later as the district plans to begin classes on Sept. 8.

CCS Superintendent/CEO Dr. Talisa Dixon shared recommendations for reopening this fall during a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday.

The district says the recommendations follow COVID-19 guidelines and guidance from local, state and federal health officials.

Students will be required to wear masks on the bus and it's recommended they wear face coverings inside the school buildings. All CCS staff will be required to wear masks.

As part of the recommendations, students in grades K-8 will attend class two days a week, with three days of remote learning at home. Students who are from the same family will attend in-person classes on the same days.

High school students will attend classes remotely while at home for at least the first two quarters. They will have two remote learning options: 

  • a CCS online curriculum with pacing and instruction provided by CCS teachers
  • A Digital Academy that is self-paced with CCS teacher supervision.

For CCS students in early childhood and Pre-K classes, there will also be two days of in-person learning at school and three days of remote learning at home. For students in half-day classrooms, there will be four days of in-person learning at school with an opportunity for virtual learning at home on the fifth day.

Students who have special needs will receive additional consideration.

Dixon says the recommendations could change based on several factors including:

  • Changing health and safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH);
  • Updated guidance from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), Governor Mike DeWine, or the Ohio state legislature;
  • Agreements with the District’s labor union partners;
  • Resources available and feasibility of safely reopening schools while balancing health and safety guidelines, especially when transporting students to and from school.

The district says it will release more information to students, families and staff as it becomes available.

The district says all CCS buildings will have hygiene and social distancing protocols that need to be observed. Those recommendations are as follows:

  • All staff will be required to wear masks.
  • CCS will provide masks for staff, or staff will be allowed to wear their own masks.
  • Students will be required to wear masks on the bus.
  • CCS will provide masks for students who need them, or students will be allowed to wear their own masks.
  • It is recommended that all students wear masks in school.
  • CCS will provide masks for students who need them, or students will be allowed to wear their own masks.
  • Social distancing in classrooms and common areas, avoiding crowds, and staying at least six feet away from others whenever possible.
  • Physical barriers will be installed where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
  • To accommodate social distancing in classrooms and commons areas, the District’s Operations team is creating layouts for desks, tables, chairs, and other items.
  • Hand sanitizer will be provided in all buildings.
  • Appropriate and thorough hand washing will be encouraged.
  • Families will be asked to do home assessments of their students’ health each day before sending them to school. 
  • Staff will be asked to do self-assessments of their own health before reporting to work each day.
  • Limited visitors or volunteers will be allowed in school buildings.
  • No in-person field trips will be allowed. 
  • Students and staff must use fillable water bottles and not drink directly from water fountains.
  • Families should make arrangements for pick-up of students who become ill during the school day.
  • Each school will have a separation room for a student who is feeling ill and is awaiting pick-up from their parent or guardian.

More information about CCS' recommendations for reopening can be found on the .