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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

CPS Approves Plan To Return To The Classroom Oct. 5

Courtesy of Cincinnati Public Schools
The 1-2-2 model will allow students to have three days of teacher-led instruction.

Cincinnati Public Schools will transition to a blended learning model starting Oct. 5.

Under a 1-2-2 model, all students will take part in distance learning on Mondays. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, a group of students will attend classes, followed by a separate group on Thursdays and Fridays.

Walnut Hills High School will be the exception to this model. 

The CPS Board of Education approved the motion on Monday. President Carolyn Jones said the board had to agree to start somewhere.

"We have to build on what we have," Jones said. "We have to change what we have, and we just have to continue to improve."

Superintendent Laura Mitchell said she knows what’s at stake and that CPS is in the process of rebuilding during the pandemic.

"It is important that we rebuild for a life beyond the pandemic and look toward a life forward for all of our CPS students and all of our neighborhoods," Mitchell said.

Board Member Mike Moroski was the only board member who didn’t vote to approve the plan. On Twitter, he said "public health will be compromised" and that he finds the plan "pedagogically unsound." However, he will support the board’s decision.

Pre-K And Specialized Classrooms

Credit Cincinnati Public Schools
Cincinnati Public Schools
The phased-in approach for pre-K and specialized classrooms will begin Oct. 5.

Pre-K and specialized students will transition to in-person instruction starting Oct. 5 under a 4-1 model at 50% capacity.

By Oct. 12, all students will return to full capacity four days a week for in-person instruction. Social distancing will be in place for the classrooms and teachers will be provided PPE.

"We have determined that our Pre-K students, as well as our specialized classrooms, developmentally really need to be able to have face-to-face instruction," Mitchell said.

The phased-in approach will allow for faculty and staff to be taught the proper safety protocols and give parents and guardians the time to prepare.

COVID-19 Data

Credit Courtesy Cincinnati Public Schools
Courtesy Cincinnati Public Schools
As of Sept. 20, Cincinnati has 5,496 confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the Ohio Disease Reporting System.

To date, 5,118 CPS employees have been tested. Nineteen employees since Aug. 17 have tested positive for the virus, which puts CPS's positivity rate at 0.4%.

Cincinnati averages 34 cases a day, according to the Ohio Disease Reporting System. The average length for COVID-19 test results to come in is two days. Hamilton County is currently at a Level 2 on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, which indicates increased exposure and spread.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.