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Walnut Hills High School Will Stay Remote For Time Being

walnut hills high school
Courtesy of WCPO

After a more than four hour-long meeting, the Cincinnati Public Schools Board passed a resolution that will keep Walnut Hills High School remote for the time being.

The resolution, proposed by Board Member Mike Moroski, passed 5-2, with the lone 'no' votes being cast by Melanie Bates and Eve Bolton.

Before casting her vote, Bates said the resolution felt like they were backtracking on an agreement previously made with the state of Ohio to get vaccines for teachers.

"If that was the case in the beginning, if this was the intent all along, I don't know that we would've gotten, A, a priority that we did; or B, even would've received priority," Bates said. CPS teachers began receiving the vaccine late last month.

Walnut Hills High School will remain in remote learning until Cincinnati Public Schools decides three-feet of social distancing is the standard for all schools in the district. The CDC recommends six-feet of social distancing. The high school is the district's largest, and a place where students and teachers raised concerns of overcrowding even before the coronavirus pandemic.

Credit Cincinnati Public Schools (screenshot from Feb. 8, 2021 meeting)
During the board meeting, a slide was shown to explain why Walnut Hills was slated to return with three-feet of social distancing.

Before the resolution was passed, some students from the school voiced their concerns about the blended learning plan, including Roree Whittaker, a seventh grader at the school.

"All of us have gotten used to online schooling, but if we go back, we are going to have to learn a whole new schedule," Whittaker said. "That seems like a lot just to go back to school for four months."

Some board members admitted they had begun reconsidering their previous decision to hold classes at the school with three-feet of social distancing. During the hearing from the public, many concerned parents voiced their displeasure of the original plan, including Chanda Monroe-Williams.

"I think you're not talking about the new strains," Monroe-Williams said. "I think you're not considering that you're a 67% diverse community and decisions are being made by a non-diverse board, so I think we've just got to consider how we better operate to be able to get everybody on the same page."

Beginning next week, students at other high schools and those in grades 4-6 will begin transitioning to blended learning. On the week of March 1, students from grades 7-8 will begin returning to classrooms. Grades pre-K-3 have already resumed the blended learning schedule.