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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 Says Staff Reductions Could Happen In The Future

Budget concerns could lead to staff reductions in Cincinnati Public Schools.

COVID-19 has cost the district more than $42 million to date. Now facing a massive budget gap, Treasurer Jennifer Wagner said they may have to reduce their budget by $38 million.

Cincinnati Federation of Teachers President Julie Sellers is frustrated with the possibility of staff getting cut.

“I cannot understand how this treasurer gets away with this week after week after week with no input from the public,” Sellers said. “This is not community engagement around the budget.”

Board Member Eve Bolton brought up concerns about the future budget and said they can’t keep funding the “old CPS.”

“There has to be significant change … to develop a new CPS,” Bolton said. “Any incrementalism that we use or have used has to just go away. I mean, it has to be a redesign.”

Credit Cincinnati Public Schools (screenshot from Oct. 19, 2020 meeting)
Cincinnati Public Schools (screenshot from Oct. 19, 2020 meeting)

The estimate for money saved by reducing staff is $6.2 million, but the district could reduce staff further to save up to $24 million. This year’s school budget is limited to $644 million. However, CPS is currently more than $43 million over budget.

An update for the budget is expected to be given on Nov. 4.

Positive COVID-19 Case Reported

During the first week of in-person learning for Cincinnati Public Schools, one student tested positive for COVID-19.

Last week, 62 students were tested in the district for exhibiting COVID-like symptoms.

Superintendent Laura Mitchell said the community has a responsibility to create a protective field around schools to fight the virus.

“We all know what we can do to protect ourselves and to protect our kids so that they can be in school, and so it’s all of our responsibility to make sure that we’re washing our hands, creating social distance, and wearing our mask the proper way,” Mitchell said.

Credit Cincinnati Public Schools (screenshot from Oct. 19, 2020 meeting)
Cincinnati Public Schools (screenshot from Oct. 19, 2020 meeting)

Hamilton County’s positivity rate is at 3.3% and Cincinnati’s is at 2.7%.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 76 CPS employees have contracted COVID-19.

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