Reopening Plan FAQs

  • Reopening Plan

    Q - This reopening plan is listed as "tentative." Will there be changes and when will we know the final plan?

    A - At the time of the presentation to the Board of Education, Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Education had not released their final guidelines and recommendations on schools reopening across the state of Ohio. This uncertainty, in addition to changing information about the COVID-19 pandemic globally, necessitates operational flexibility, and therefore Dr. Dixon indicated that CCS families should anticipate changes to the reopening plan.

    It is important for CCS families to know that the  Superintendent’s reopening recommendations may change based on a number of factors including:

    • Changing health and safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH);
    • Updated guidance from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), Governor Mike DeWine, or the Ohio state legislature;
    • Agreements with the District’s labor union partners;
    • Resources available and feasibility of safely reopening schools while balancing health and safety guidelines, especially when transporting students to and from school.

    District families, students, and staff can expect to receive more information this summer as it becomes available.

    Q - Is this the plan for the entire 2020-2021 school year?

    A - Yes, but this plan could change based on the factor listed in the question above and as more information becomes available about the COVID-19 global pandemic. For high school students, the current recommendation is for remote learning only for at least the first two quarters of the school year.

    Q - If this plan is tentative, how do I make plans for how my student will return to school in the fall?

    A - Families can consider their options between the blended learning model and online-only CCS Digital Academy for students in Kindergarten through eighth grade. Registration for the Digital Academy begins July 13 and runs through August 1 via the Infinite Campus Parent Portal. More information about the blended model, including when students would attend in-person, will be available later this summer. 

    Families of high school students will choose between two online-only options: one that is led by CCS teachers with guided instruction and pacing and another that is self-paced with supervision from CCS staff. Our Academic Services team will be providing further clarity on the two options available for high school students.

    As is common during the current global pandemic, uncertainty is something we all live with every day. We understand that families are waiting for more answers and more information, and we will provide that as it becomes available. 

    Q - What is the difference between the two online-only options for high school students?

    A - The CCS Digital Academy is a new program available to students in grades K-12. For high school students, the curriculum is provided through Apex Learning and allows students to go at their own pace to complete the work. The Digital Academy will have CCS staff supervision but is not teacher-directed.

    In comparison, the CCS online learning option will be facilitated by CCS teachers who will provide pacing and instruction on the District’s standard curriculum. 

    If a student does not enroll in the Digital Academy, they will automatically be enrolled in the standard online curriculum through their high school. 

    Both options allow students to maintain athletic eligibility and earn course credits that meet college or post-secondary requirements. 

    Q - What are the online-only options available for K-8 students?

    A - Students in grades K-8 can choose the blended learning option that allows for two days per week of in-person instruction and three days per week of online instruction at home. This model is led by CCS teachers and staff. 

    Students in grades K-8 can choose the CCS Digital Academy as their sole online-only option. For K-8 students, the curriculum is provided through Edgenuity and allows students to go at their own pace to complete the work. The Digital Academy will have CCS staff supervision but is not teacher-directed.

    Q - Is there an online-only option for preschool students?

    A - No, the online-only options are available for K-12 students. Pre-K students will use the blended learning model:

    • Full Day Classrooms - 2 days of in-person learning at school and 3 days of remote learning at home
    • Half Day Classrooms - 4 days of in-person learning at school with option for virtual learning at home on the fifth day
    • Additional considerations for students with special needs

    Q - This plan requires access to technology, including a computer and the internet. What is CCS doing so that all students have access to the necessary technology?

    A - CCS continues to explore funding options in order to provide computers and internet access to all students who need it. We distributed more than 19,000 Chromebooks to students last spring, and we are committed to providing more devices this fall. We are also working with our community partners to explore ideas around internet access. 

    Q - How will students participate in extracurricular activities such as band, orchestra, choir, dance, sports, theater?

    A - Specific decisions for each of these areas have not been determined, and the Reopening Task Force continues to review guidance as we receive it to make these decisions. For example, the task force is examining the most recent information around school sports to identify opportunities for students to participate safely.

    Q - Who will watch my children the three days they are not in school?

    A - We understand that many families not just in Columbus but across the country rely on schools being open five days a week in order to work. We know that a blended learning model is not ideal for working families, but it is necessary when considering the health and safety of our students, staff, and community amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic. 

    CCS continues to work with community partners to identify alternative childcare options for families who need them. All families should have an alternative plan for their child’s day when at home. Children should know where to go if a parent will not be home, and how to contact the parent, guardian, or another adult with whom there are back-up arrangements. Parent contact information, including work and cell phone numbers, should also be kept up-to-date with the school. 

    Q - Will state tests be given and will end of the year exams be required to pass?

    A - The Ohio Department of Education will determine state testing requirements for the 2020-2021 school year. 

    Blended Learning

    Q - Will children from the same family in K-8 attend school on the same days?

    A - Yes, students from the same family/household will attend in-person classes on the same days.

    Q - Will elementary students be allowed to have recess?

    A - Yes, we are planning to offer recess to students in smaller cohort groups.

    Q - Will my child share supplies at school with other students?

    A - No, students will not share classroom supplies. We will make sure that all students have their own supplies.

    Q - If two different groups of students are coming into a building on different days, how will they keep books, computers, desks, tables, etc. clean?

    A - CCS staff will thoroughly clean and disinfect school buildings each night after in-person classes. As part of its typical cleaning procedures, CCS uses a hospital-grade disinfectant, in addition to electrostatic disinfectant sprayers that are used as an added layer of disinfecting. These typical procedures will continue in the fall.

    Q - If a student becomes ill during the school day, where would they stay until they can leave school?

    A - Families should make arrangements for pick-up of students who become ill during the school day. Each school will have a separation room for a student who is feeling ill and is awaiting pick-up from their parent or guardian.

    Q - How will schools take attendance for the blended learning model?

    A - Schools will use the Clever single-sign-on system and will monitor students’ access to digital content to count students as present during remote learning days.

    Q - Will my student receive a bad grade if they do not sign in each day or meet as a class on the computer? 

    A - Grades will be assigned based on students demonstrating learning and mastery of the content. This may include specific rates of completion of online activities; however, specific details regarding grading are forthcoming.

    CCS Digital Academy Questions

    Q - If I enroll my student in the CCS Digital Academy and withdraw them, can they automatically return to the last school they attended even if they went through the lottery?

    A - Families who register their students for the Digital Academy will be permitted to return their students to their original school upon withdrawing from the Digital Academy. Students will not lose their lottery spots for the 2020-2021 school year if they choose to attend the Digital Academy.

    UPDATED (July 13): It is important for families to keep in mind that registering for the Digital Academy is a semester-long commitment. Once school begins on September 8, students must remain in the Digital Academy through at least the first two quarters of the school year.

    Q - How do I enroll my student in the CCS Digital Academy?

    A - Registration for the CCS Digital Academy will open on July 13 and run through August 1. Registration will be completed through the Infinite Campus Parent Portal.

    Q - How will student attendance be tracked?

    A - The platforms for the CCS Digital Academy -- Edgenuity for K-8 and Apex Learning for 9-12 -- track student attendance and computer idle time.

    Woodcrest Elementary Year-Round School

    Q - When can I register my Woodcrest student for the Digital Academy?

    A - Woodcrest Elementary students can register for the Digital Academy July 13 through August 1. Woodcrest students who register for the Digital Academy will start virtually at Woodcrest on July 29 and begin the Digital Academy curriculum on Sept. 8.

    Q - When does Woodcrest staff report?

    A - Woodcrest staff will report to work on Monday, July 27.

    Q - Will Woodcrest staff participate in the two weeks of professional development in August/September?

    A - Yes, Woodcrest staff will participate in the two weeks of district-wide professional development August 24 through September 4.

    Q - When will Woodcrest students begin classes?

    A - Virtual-only classes will begin on Wednesday, July 29, for Woodcrest Elementary students.

    Q- Will the year-round program participate in blended learning?

    A - Yes, Woodcrest Elementary students will begin the blended learning schedule on Tuesday, September 8. The blended learning model combines two days of in-person instruction at school with three days of online instruction at home. Early childhood, or Pre-K, students will also use this blended model based on each child’s individual needs.

    Special Student Populations

    Q - My child receives speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and tutoring. How will they receive those supports?

    A - Students will receive related services in a variety of formats depending on grade level and area of need.  Some students will have in-person experiences on days they attend the blended format. Other services may be provided using technology when students are in remote settings.

    Q - Will the career and technical education students attend school in a classroom face-to-face to meet credential requirements?

    A - Additional consideration will be given to those students with special needs, who are English Language Learners, or who are in programs that may require more in-person instruction such as career and technical education, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced Placement as we balance the need for in-person learning with health and safety guidelines.

    Health and Safety

    Q - Are masks required for students and staff?

    A - All staff will be required to wear masks. CCS will provide masks for staff, or staff will be allowed to wear their own masks.

    Students will be required to wear masks on the bus. It is recommended that all students wear masks in school. CCS will provide masks for students who need them, or students will be allowed to wear their own masks.

    Q - Will CCS staff perform temperature checks of all staff and all students every day?

    A - Students and staff will NOT have temperatures taken when they arrive at school (or on the bus). Families will be asked to do self-assessments of their students’ health each day before sending them to school. Staff will be asked to do self-assessments of their own health before reporting to work each day.

    Q - Will the District supply water bottles and who will clean them?

    A - Students and staff must use their own fillable water bottles and not drink directly from water fountains.

    Q - Are visitors allowed in school buildings?

    A - Limited visitors or volunteers will be allowed in school buildings.

    Q - Will students be allowed to go on field trips?

    A - No in-person field trips will be allowed.

    Q - What are you doing to ensure social distancing while students are at school?

    A - Social distancing in classrooms and common areas, avoiding crowds, and staying at least six feet away from others whenever possible. Physical barriers will be installed where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing. Ample hand sanitizer will be provided in all buildings, and appropriate hand washing will be encouraged.

    Q - How are you accommodating social distancing in classrooms and common areas?

    A - The District’s Operations team is creating sample layouts for desks, tables, chairs, etc.

    Food Services

    Q - Where will students eat lunch and breakfast when attending face-to-face classes?

    A - When students are in school, meals will be consumed in the classroom.

    Q - Will the District provide meals on the days students are not in school?

    A - We know that many of our students and their families rely on the District’s free breakfast and lunch program. CCS will continue to provide these meals to all students. 

    To accommodate breakfast and lunch when students are learning at home, each student will be given six meals (two per day of remote learning) when they leave the school building. 

    For high school students who are learning remotely full-time, CCS will provide a grab-and-go meal distribution where students can pick up 10 meals (two per day of remote learning) for the week.

    Transportation

    Q - Will transportation be provided for students to attend classes in-person? 

    A - CCS will provide transportation for all students who qualify for transportation and who attend classes in-person. Students will be required to wear a mask or face covering when using CCS transportation. 

    Q - How many students will be on the bus?

    A - The Reopening Task Force continues to analyze and discuss all options related to transportation and expects to have more information this summer. As of the time of the presentation to the Board of Education on June 30, the Ohio Department of Education had not released its final recommendations on health and safety guidelines including for transportation.

    Q Will students be required to wear masks on the bus?

    A - Students will be required to wear masks on the bus. CCS will provide masks for students who need them, or students will be allowed to wear their own masks.

    More Information

    Q - How can I ask questions or learn more?

    A - CCS will provide more information on its initial plan and recommendations as it becomes available this summer. Families can contact the Office of Customer Relations at customerrelations@columbus.k12.oh.us or the Factline at factline@columbus.k12.oh.us.