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Columbus City Schools’ Reopening Task Force Planning for 2020-2021 School Year

For more information on how you can get involved with the Reopening Task Force, please email

June 2, 2020 -- As Columbus City Schools closes out the 2019-2020 school year, the District’s newly-formed Reopening Task Force is planning for how CCS may welcome back students and staff to open the 2020-2021 school year.

“This school year certainly did not end how anyone could have ever predicted,” said CCS Superintendent/CEO Dr. Talisa Dixon. “With the COVID-19 pandemic still upon us, it is important that we begin our preparations now to welcome back our 50,000 students and 9,000 staff members for the 2020-2021 school year. There are still many unknowns and uncertainties as we look ahead, but our focus is on making the best decisions to protect the health and safety of our students and staff.”

WATCH: Superintendent Dixon Featured at Columbus Metropolitan Club

Dr. Dixon created the Reopening Task Force to proactively create a plan for returning to school buildings that adheres to guidelines and recommendations from local, state, and federal health officials while also providing equitable academic opportunities for all students.

The task force is charged with developing a plan to address the potential scenarios and unanswered questions that the District may face in implementing one or both of the following two options:

  1. A robust K-12 Online Academy for the 2020-2021 school year for parents who prefer to keep their children at home full time.
  2. A blended learning model that combines days of in-person instruction with days of online instruction, interventions, and conferences.

Columbus City Schools will be applying for a waiver from the Ohio Department of Education to operate a full-fledged K-12 online school. This option would go above and beyond the virtual learning curriculum that CCS students and families have experienced while schools have been closed over the past two months.

“We know that a return to the traditional school model is not feasible for the start of next year,” said Dr.  Dixon. “There will need to be some combination of respiratory etiquette, use of masks and personal protective equipment, and social distancing requirements in place to protect the health and safety of students and staff. Even with the challenges to meet health guidelines in our schools, we are still responsible for providing rigorous, engaging, and equitable academic opportunities for all students district-wide.”

The task force began its work in May and is expected to provide a recommendation and plan to the Board of Education in late June. The task force is led by Dr. Dixon, Internal Auditor Carolyn Smith, Deputy Superintendent Dr. John Stanford, and Special Assistant to the Superintendent Monique Jacquet.

The task force includes leaders from the Columbus Education Association (CEA), the Columbus School Employees Association (CSEA/OAPSE), the Columbus Schools Classified Supervisors Association (CSCSA), and the Columbus Administrators Association (CAA). 

Staff members across various departments and roles, in addition to community partners, will participate in the task force as part of nine working groups. The working groups are established by topic and include:

  • Health, Social Emotional, and Safety
  • Academics
  • Virtual Learning
  • Engagement
  • Operations
  • Human Resources
  • Budget and Finance
  • Central Office Operations
  • Legislative and Board Policy

One of the top priorities for the Reopening Task Force is to engage district families to gauge their needs and desires for next school year. Families can expect to receive a phone and email survey to provide this feedback to the task force. Families and students can also speak with their school’s family ambassador and student ambassadors to provide feedback to the Engagement working group.

“We understand the importance of including our families and students in this process,” said Dr. Dixon. “Our district is not ‘one size fits all’ by any means. We must be flexible, innovative, and forward-thinking and balance our responsibility to provide meaningful instruction and meet the needs of our families while also prioritizing the health and safety of our students, staff, and community.”