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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 Transition To In-Person Learning Oct. 12 Following Last-Second Delay

Cincinnati Public Schools (screenshot from Oct. 5, 2020 meeting)
A look at the CPS phase in plan.

Cincinnati Public Schools will begin phasing students back to in-person learning on Oct. 12.

Students were originally set to start phasing in this week. However, the delay was brought on due to Hamilton County reaching Level 3 on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System.

Credit Cincinnati Public Schools (screenshot from Oct. 6, 2020 meeting)
Cincinnati Public Schools (screenshot from Oct. 6, 2020 meeting)

A new recommendation will now allow for the school district to conduct both in-person and remote learning moving forward. Chief Strategy Officer Sarah Trimble-Oliver said it's up to the community to follow safety guidelines to prevent further delays or closures.

"We must not allow ourselves to become fatigued by the pandemic and we must be diligent about our safety precautions if we want to have our kids back in school," Trimble-Oliver said.

Pre-K and specialized classrooms will be in-person from Tuesday to Friday. All other grades will meet in-person twice a week. Walnut Hills High School will remain in distance learning due to safety concerns because of the classroom sizes.

Districtwide 'Streaming' Option

Credit Cincinnati Public Schools (screenshot from Oct. 6, 2020 meeting)
Cincinnati Public Schools (screenshot from Oct. 6, 2020 meeting)

Some parents have asked that their children remain remote and have their classes streamed online.    

But for CPS to stream classes for remote learning, limits will have to be in place.

For starters, at least 25% of students in the district must choose to be in a remote learning model. On top of that, only 25% of teachers can stream across the district.

Lead Network Engineer Jeremy Gollihue said if CPS was able to stream from every classroom, setting that up would be costly.

"If we wanted to do every classroom, it would be significantly more difficult," Gollihue said. "I would put it easily at $10 million plus."

CPS will send a form to families to see if students want to take part in streams of classrooms.

COVID-19 Impact

Cincinnati’s seven-day moving average for cases appears to be increasing, but the positivity rate is at 2.1%.

Hamilton County is currently at Level 3 on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. The county currently has 90.16 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000. A sustained increase in outpatient visits for COVID-like illnesses has also been reported.

At least 5,896 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Cincinnati, which has resulted in 106 total deaths.

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