- Watkins Elementary School
Letter From Dr. Dixon To Families Regarding Today's Reopening Announcement
Dear CCS Families,
I’d like to share with you today our district’s final decision regarding how we will start back to school on Tuesday, September 8.
In my letter to you last week, I indicated that our top priority is to protect the health and safety of our students and their families and all of our staff. Providing a safe learning environment for our students and staff is always a tremendous responsibility. During this very serious COVID-19 pandemic, that responsibility has life and death ramifications.
Since we shared our initial reopening plans on June 30, public health conditions have worsened. The spread of new COVID-19 infections continues to increase dramatically in the city of Columbus and within our school district boundaries and zip codes.
Although it was our hope that we could return to some form of in-person learning in September, the risk of bringing back 50,000 students and 9,000 employees to our buildings in the fall is far too great.
Therefore, Columbus City Schools will begin the 2020-2021 school year fully remote – all virtual learning -- for grades pre-K through 12. We will operate in a completely virtual learning environment through at least the first quarter -- which is Tuesday, September 8 through Tuesday, October 27 -- for schools on the traditional calendar and through at least the first intersession – which is Wednesday, July 29, through Friday October 23 – for our year-round school Woodcrest Elementary.
It is important to understand that the virtual learning this fall will be different than the online classes that began in March and April when school buildings were closed by Governor DeWine’s order. Prior to September 8, our teachers and staff will participate in training for this new curriculum. Teachers will be in contact with their students on a frequent and regular basis. More information will be available soon from your school principal.
I wanted to provide you with our final decision right away. I know that you will have lots of questions about what this means for your child. The District will continue to engage with families and staff and seek feedback throughout the first quarter of the year to make any necessary adjustments to learning environments. We’ll also provide information next month regarding how to access additional services for educational, social and emotional support, breakfast and lunch, technology, and other family needs.
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. 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.
With the mission to protect the health and safety of students, families, staff, and the community at the forefront of all decisions, CCS will continue to monitor public health conditions within its boundaries before determining when it is safe and practical to begin in-person learning experiences.
Finally, it is imperative that all of us work together to make the first quarter the best educational experience possible for all of our students. I believe all our teachers and staff, along with our community partners, are committed to achieving positive outcomes for all our children. 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.
Dr. Talisa Dixon
Superintendent/CEO, Columbus City Schools
If you haven’t already, please consider participating in one of our scheduled Family Engagement Virtual Meetings to learn about plans for reopening and helping your students with online learning. You can find the schedule for future family engagement virtual meetings here.