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Superintendent's Letter to CCS Staff
As you know, on June 30, I provided our District’s initial fall school reopening plans to the CCS community. The recommendations were based on the intensive work by the Reopening Task Force led by more than 150 staff, teachers, principals, district partners, union leadership, businesses, community leaders and local and state health officials.
First and foremost, our priority for the 2020-21 school year is to keep our entire CCS community – students and their families and all teachers, staff and administrators – safe during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. That priority, followed closely by providing equitable learning opportunities for all students, has not changed. The Task Force continues its work and is influenced by frequent information and guidance by Columbus Public Health.
As you know, the spread of COVID-19 continues to increase, especially in the city of Columbus and Franklin County. This past Tuesday, I asked Health Commissioner Roberts’ team to provide an update to my cabinet and Task Force leaders, including all our union partner presidents, on the virus as it pertains to our district boundaries and family zip codes. The numbers are sobering.
An important recommendation from these health experts included seeing four consecutive weeks of decreasing number of cases in order for schools to reopen safely. Even with implementing social distancing on school busses and in the classroom, it is still a challenge to bring students and employees back safely if the rate of infection does not begin to trend and sustain downward.
We will continue our close communications with Columbus Public Health for updates on the spread of the virus within our District boundaries. As we monitor the data and seek guidance, we will need to give serious consideration to beginning the school year with a fully remote learning model for grades PK-12. Although no decision has been made, I wanted to provide you with the most recent update based on our meeting earlier this week with Columbus Public Health.
I know that all of you, like me, want nothing more than to have our students back in the classroom and in our buildings. However, that may not be possible if the data does not improve. We simply would not be able to take the risk. At the same time, we feel positive about the strides we have made with ongoing meetings with our labor union partners as we begin to prepare for digital and blended learning. Online or digital learning will be a part of all of our futures in education, and CCS will be a leader as we implement a 1-to-1 initiative by 2023.
I will continue to provide you with information as we receive it from our partners at Columbus Public Health. I sincerely appreciate all the support and encouragement I’ve received from so many of you as we work to navigate these unchartered waters during the ongoing pandemic.
Dr. Talisa Dixon