Columbus City Schools (CCS) Superintendent/CEO Dr. Talisa Dixon announced Tuesday that Ohio’s largest school district will start the 2020-2021 school year virtually.
CCS will be online for the first quarter for the next school year. The first quarter of the school year will start September 8 and end October 27.
In a letter sent to the CCS community, Dixon said the school district hoped to start the school year with in-person classes, but the risk of returning 50,000 students and 9,000 employees to its buildings was “far too great.”
Dixon said the school district will continue to examine the public health conditions before deciding when CCS will resume in-person classes.
“I understand that this news of starting back in the fall with a fully virtual learning model will please many parents and families. I also know that many will not be pleased with the decision,” Dixon said. “However, ultimately, safety and health concerns led to a final decision that would keep all of us safe as we work collectively to lower the rate of COVID-19 infections.”
When virtual classes begin in fall, they will look different from the ones that happened when the school permanently closed in April.
The school district has broken its virtual learning plan down into three categories: pre-K students, Kindergarten through 8th grade and high school students.
For pre-K students, when the school district returns to in-person classes, these students will attend “a blended model with both in-person and virtual instruction.”
CCS students who are in Kindergarten through 8th grade and high school can choose between the school district’s curriculum or the CCS Digital Academy. The digital academy allows students to participate in a self-paced curriculum. When the school district does return to classes, students using the school district’s curriculum will use a blended model as the academy students will remain virtual for the rest of the school year.
High school students who use the CCS curriculum can decide to remain virtual even when in-person classes resume.
Even though the CCS students have the option of going online for the 2020-2021 school year, not every student in the district has access to quality internet. According to The Columbus Dispatch, 13 percent of student households don’t have a home computer and almost a quarter of student households don’t have broadband internet service access.
To end her letter, Dixon asked that the CCS community work together to make this school the best possible for all its students.
“I believe all our teachers and staff, along with our community partners, are committed to achieving positive outcomes for all our children,” the superintendent said. “I ask that every family make the commitment to working closely with CCS for the best experience possible until we can all return to the classroom safely.”
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Zachery Schmidt is the digital editor of Star News Digital Media. If you have any tips, email Zachery at [email protected]. Follow Zachery on Twitter @zacheryschmidt2.
Photo “Talisa Dixon” by the City of Columbus.