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Columbus City Schools to Transition Student Groups to Blended Learning

Dear CCS Community, 

Today we are ready to move forward with transitioning some of our students back into their classrooms for blended learning beginning on February 1. The complete details are below, but to summarize:

  • February 1 - These student groups will transition to a blended learning model, which means they will attend classes at school two days per week and at home three days per week.
    • All students in grades PreK through 3.
    • Students with identified complex needs in grades PreK through 12.
    • Students in Career and Technical Education programs at Columbus Downtown High School and the Fort Hayes Career Center.
  • February 8 - These student groups will transition to a blended learning model, which means they will attend classes at school two days per week and at home three days per week.
    • All students in grades 4 and 5.
  • Students in grades 6 through 12 (except those with identified complex needs) will remain in a remote learning model until additional transportation logistics can be worked out to meet COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. 

I am excited that we are able to bring many of our students back into their classrooms for the first time since last March. We were successful in transitioning our CTE students to a blended learning model during the fall, but now we are ready to expand beyond that group. Our youngest learners need that in-person, face-to-face connection with their teachers, which allows them to build meaningful relationships that may not be possible in a remote learning environment. 

Our school buildings are ready for students and staff to return, meeting all of the health and safety protocols that are necessary for holding in-person classes during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on the indicators we are using to ensure school building readiness, please click here 

For those families who may not be comfortable with their students attending in-person classes, we have left open the second-semester registration period for the CCS Digital Academy which is a completely remote option for students in grades Kindergarten through 12. 

One of the critical factors in our reopening plans is the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine. We are working alongside Columbus Public Health to prepare for the administration of the vaccine to CCS staff members. As Governor Mike DeWine announced last week, the vaccine will be available to school district staff members starting February 1. I have signed and submitted the form that certifies CCS will meet all of the requirements related to in-person learning that qualify our staff to receive the vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccine will be made available to all CCS staff members, but we want to prioritize it for our teachers and school-based staff who will be working directly with students. More information about registration and the process to receive the vaccine will be provided to staff as it becomes available. 

I know that there will be many questions from our community about our plans to transition to blended learning. I will be joining our Virtual Family Engagement Super Sessions each Thursday at 6:00 p.m. to talk directly with our families and answer questions or concerns. Please click here for more information.

In the meantime, please visit the Blended Learning Hub on our website for informational videos and FAQs which will be updated throughout the month. 

I am thankful for the continued support and partnership with our district community as we navigate the pandemic together and determine how best and most safely to educate our students.

Sincerely,

Talisa Dixon
Superintendent/CEO, Columbus City Schools


Transition to Blended Learning Details

February 1 - These student groups will transition to a blended learning model, which means they will attend classes at school two days per week and at home three days per week.

  • All students in grades PreK through 3.
  • Students with identified complex needs (see below) in grades PreK through 12.
  • Students in Career and Technical Education programs at Columbus Downtown High School and the Fort Hayes Career Center. 

Students With Complex Needs - In-person instruction and support are critical for our students with the most significant challenges and needs. Our Academic Services team has identified the students who meet the specific requirements and have reached out to their families.

February 8 - These student groups will transition to a blended learning model, which means they will attend classes at school two days per week and at home three days per week.

  • All students in grades 4 and 5.

Students in grades 6 through 12 (except those with identified complex needs) will remain in a remote learning model until additional transportation logistics can be worked out to meet COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. 

Our busing capacity is limited due to a national shortage of bus drivers and to the reduced capacity of our buses to remain in compliance with public health guidelines for the safe transportation of students to and from school. At this time, we are only able to transport general education students in grades K-5 and our special needs students in grades PreK-12.  

CCS Digital Academy Registration

Registration for the second semester, which begins on January 20, remains open for families who want to enroll their students in the CCS Digital Academy, a completely remote and self-paced learning option for students in Kindergarten through 12th-grade. As the District prepares for the transition to a blended learning model, all CCS Digital Academy students will remain in a completely remote learning environment.

Enrollment for the CCS Digital Academy has been extended until February 12, 2021, in order to give parents the opportunity to decide what is best for their scholars.

Visit your Parent Portal for information on how to register. Click here for more information about the CCS Digital Academy.

Health and Safety Guidelines

Visit our Blended Learning Hub to learn more about the health and safety guidelines we have in place for blended learning including brief videos about: mask wearing, hand washing, COVID-19 symptoms, social distancing, classroom set-up, and more. 

Face coverings are required of all students, employees, and visitors in our classrooms and school buildings. This follows the public health order from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and The American Academy of Pediatrics guidance, recommending that all school-aged children wear face coverings in hospitals, schools, and across the community.

The order from ODH provides for exemptions for very specific reasons. For those families who believe that these exemptions are applicable to their children, the Mask Exemption Form can be accessed here. All mask exemption requests require a doctor’s recommendation/order. 

COVID-19 Vaccine for CCS Staff Members

Governor DeWine has announced that the COVID-19 vaccine will be available for school district staff beginning on February 1, provided those districts agree to transition to a full in-person or blended learning model by March 1, 2021.

Dr. Dixon has signed and submitted the form that certifies CCS will meet all of the requirements related to in-person learning that qualify CCS teachers and staff to receive the vaccine.

We are working alongside Columbus Public Health to prepare for the administration of the vaccine to CCS staff members. The COVID-19 vaccine will be made available to all CCS staff members, but we want to prioritize it for our teachers and school-based staff who will be working directly with students. More information about registration and the process to receive the vaccine will be provided to staff as it becomes available.  

Fuel Up Meal Distribution Program

As students return to schools on February 1, 2021, there will be a change in the meal distribution process at the District’s Fuel Up meal sites.

Families are still encouraged to pick-up a five-day meal pack each week. During the two days that students are in the classroom, they will be served breakfast and lunch.  

Beginning February 3, the Fuel Up locations, where families pick-up the five-day meal packs, will shift to 18 CCS high school locations across the District. Pick-up times will continue from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon, and evening distribution pick-up hours will shift to 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

All breakfast and lunch meals are free to students 18 years of age or younger at Fuel Up high school sites located throughout the District. For a Map of all 18 meal site locations, visit https://bit.ly/FuelUpCCS.

Chromebooks and Technology

Students who are attending in a blended learning model are expected to bring their devices on the days they attend school in the building if the teacher requires it. Students are also expected to have their Chromebook fully charged before attending school each day.

Transportation

Individual bus stops, pick-up times, and drop-off times will be communicated to families prior to the start of blended learning. Families should expect to receive a postcard in the mail. Families can also login to their Parent Portal to view their student’s pick-up and drop-off times. 

Learn More at Weekly Virtual Family Engagement Sessions

As we prepare for the anticipated return of students and staff to the classroom in a blended learning model, Dr. Dixon will be joining our Virtual Family Engagement "Super Sessions" each Thursday evening to hear questions and concerns directly from our families.

At these sessions, we will talk about specific topics related to how we are ready to safely open our school buildings to staff and students and show what blended learning will look like in Columbus City Schools. 

On Thursday, January 7, Dr. Dixon joined the Super Session and talked specifically about what goes into ensuring our school buildings are prepared with all of the health and safety guidelines we must follow during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to watch a recording of this session.

Learning Extension Centers (LECs)

Learning Extension Centers are still available throughout the city. Through partnerships with many of our city’s non-profit and faith-based organizations, LECs offer internet access for students to complete virtual assignments while also providing safe, educationally-conducive environments for students whose families may not have the resources at home.  

To make it easy for families to find the LEC closest to their home, we have created an interactive map at www.ccsoh.us/Page/8685.