Cincinnati Public School students have been attending classes in-person for nearly three weeks now, but attendance is way lower than in previous years.
The drop in attendance last week could be due to fears families have over their kids contracting COVID-19. One student group just had slightly more than 70% of kids attending in-person classes.
Students aren’t the only ones with attendance issues. Human Resources Director Paul McDole said CPS is starting to see a trend of employee absences.
"We had over 500 staff members district-wide in all of our schools that we're out last Thursday," McDole said. "If you think about percentages, if I say that 8 percent of our teaching staff is out, that’s over 240 positions district-wide that we are then trying to fill."
According to the 2019-2020 Ohio School Report Card, CPS teachers had an attendance rate of 99.7%. Students had an attendance rate of 93.6%.
Distance Learning Enrollment
While distance learning still remains an option for students, not very many are enrolled in it. Less than 10% of CPS students are participating in distance learning.
Lead Network Engineer Jeremy Gollihue said because more students are doing in-person learning, the network can't handle school-based distance learning.
"It has to be a specific balance between the two to meet the capacity," Gollihue said. "One grows, one shrinks; and there’s kind of a fine line there that if you go too far in either direction, then it overwhelms the need of the smaller or larger group."
At least 25% of students need to be in distance learning for the model to work. CPS says families should continue to enroll students in Cincinnati Digital Academy for a full-time remote option.
Hamilton Co. Could Go Purple
If Hamilton County goes purple on Thursday, CPS will have to consider making students fully remote again. CPS’s Board of Education will allow Superintendent Laura Mitchell to decide if students will be allowed to continue in-person learning.
Board President Carolyn Jones said this about keeping students and staff safe while remaining accountable.
"We said to the public, 'If we go purple, we're going to close,' " Jones said. "We said that, and I think if we don't close, we again lose more footing, more credibility with our community."