Columbus City Schools Superintendent Talisa Dixon says all classes k-12 will be online only for the first quarter of the school year.
When Dixon and her Reopening Task Force presented operating options to the school board in June, it appeared the spread of COVID-19 was slowing in Franklin County, and in-person classes for at least some students would be an option. While the board approved online-only classes for high schools, they agreed to offer a choice between online classes or an in-person two-day-a-week option for grades k-8.
But the number of cases of COVID-19 have rebounded, and the Dixon announced that the fall quarter, which is scheduled to begin September 8th, will be online only.
Columbus City Council recently approved spending $7 million in federal CARES Act money to buy 20,000 additional Chromebooks for CCS students, and Dixon says every student who needs a computer will have their own device by the start of the school year. By the end of the past school year the district had distributed 17,000 Chromebooks, but not all students were served, and in some cases several students in the same family were depending on one device.
The district is still offering two types of online instruction; either the DIY, self-guided Digital Academy, or a CCS curriculum led by Columbus teachers. If the district does reopen in-person classes in October, k-8 students who are taking the CCS curriculum could transistion to two days in the classroom, and three days online. K-8 students who enroll in the Digital Academy would remain online.
Franklin County continues to lead the state in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts is cautioning the district to wait for a 4-week downturn in the rate of new cases before re-opening in-person classes.
The district will continue the free meal sites for breakfast and lunch through the end of the summer, and is working on plans to extend the "grab-and-go" program that has been running at 15 sites around the city since mid-March.