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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.

City Says It Wants To Help CPS Facilitate Safe In-Person Learning

Ambriehl Crutchfield

During a City Council meeting Tuesday, the City Manager's Office said it wants to partner up with Cincinnati Public Schools in order to promote the Safe and Healthy Schools Program. The program allows for temporary school facilities to operate around the city in order to provide safe in-person instruction. However, Assistant City Manager John Juech said they haven’t heard back from CPS.

"We've sent them a lot of information in writing," Juech said. "We've reached out from the city manager directly to the school superintendent and I've sent a couple of emails. We've not received anything back in terms of that offer."

To help parents during the remote learning phase, childcare is being offered at 18 rec centers in the city. WiFi will be up and running at all of them by the end of the month.

Complaints Near University of Cincinnati

Social distancing issues are popping up at bars and frat houses surrounding the University of Cincinnati.

Police Captain Craig Gregorie of the District 5 said complying with the guidelines is voluntary, but when they receive complaints, the police will investigate them.

"We may send a couple of plain clothes officers out to take a look at it," Gregorie said. "We may just send a uniform car out there. Just a reminder, we all carry body-worn cameras with us and we film these activities. That video, we turn over to the health department and let them evaluate it."

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the city has addressed 1,117 social distancing complaints at businesses.

Juech said Cincinnati averages 26 new COVID-19 cases a day, including one hospitalization a day. No one has died from COVID-19 in the city in two weeks.

Contact Tracing

Cincinnati has added 26 new contact tracers since the pandemic began, bringing the city’s total to 50.

"We have some specifically assigned to CPS that we've offered up, and then also three to the universities," Juech said. "Under the auspices of the Cincinnati Health Department, we're doing targeted contact tracing in both the schools and the universities."

Juech said the city is also working with community and economic partners to tackle the public health and economic impacts of 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.