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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 To Remain In Distance Learning Due To COVID-19

Schools across Cincinnati Public were preparing to welcome back students on Monday. But now, COVID-19 has put a halt to those plans.

Credit Provided / Ohio Dept. of Health
Ohio Dept. of Health

Cincinnati Public Schools will remain in distance learning because Hamilton County is once again at Level 3 on the state's health map. Hamilton County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman pointed at the sustained increase in hospital admissions that caused the county’s status to change.

Superintendent Laura Mitchell said the health and safety of the students and staff is a top priority.

"As a large urban district, our families are more likely to be negatively impacted by this virus," Mitchell said. "But we are asking the community to recommit to health guidelines so that we can have our students back as quickly as possible."

CPS recently approved a return plan that would have students attending classes twice a week in-person. Pre-K and specialized classrooms were planned to meet in-person four days a week.

In a recent survey put out by CPS, 49% of parents expressed a level of comfort in sending their kids back to in-person, while 48% are hesitant or extremely uncomfortable.

COVID-19 has cost CPS more than $42 million to date. So far, $2.2 million has gone toward expanding the staff at Cincinnati Digital Academy and $4 million has been spent to hire more nurses in the school district. At least $5.3 million has gone toward cleaning supplies, PPE and thermometers.

Future recommendations will be discussed at the board meeting on Monday.

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