Cincinnati Public Schools to Begin 2020–21 Year with Distance Learning

August 3, 2020

Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) students will attend school via distance learning for the first five weeks of the 2020–21 school year, per a decision made this evening at the CPS Board of Education meeting. District leaders hope to resume in-person learning as soon as data indicates it is safe to do so.

The first day of school will be Monday, August 24. CPS will decide during the week of September 14 whether to begin some level of in-person learning beginning Monday, September 28. With the input of health experts, CPS is using three primary data points to guide decision making:

  • A sustained daily decline in new confirmed cases
  • A positivity rate, or percent of people tested who return positive results, that is equal to or less than 5 percent
  • A yellow or orange level for Hamilton County as part of the State of Ohio's Public Health Advisory System

"Distance learning is not how students, families, or staff hoped to start the year. We all know that in-classroom learning is best for most students academically, socially, and emotionally," said Superintendent Laura Mitchell. "While we have seen early signs of improvement, current transmission and positivity rates are too high to ensure the safety of our students and staff. We hope with the commitment of the community to further reduce the spread of the virus, and sustain that reduction, we will see our students in our buildings on September 28. We are prepared for all learning models — distance, blended, and fully in person — and know we must all be agile and flexible during the 2020–2021 academic year."

All students, pre-K through 12, will have CPS-provided devices. Students in grades pre-K through 1 will receive an iPad. Older students will receive laptops.

Following a successful pilot phase, CPS and Cincinnati Bell will fully launch the "Connect our Students" project with the help of other community partners, including Greater Cincinnati Foundation, to ensure all students have access to Wi-Fi connectivity. This program provides free internet for a year for students and households who need it. CPS estimates this could be 11,000 households. More information can be found on the CPS website and the "Connect Our Students" site.

The district has provided 353,000 meals to students since March 17. The meal distribution program will expand in the fall to include weekly distribution at each CPS school.

CPS is inviting parents to attend a virtual town hall at 4 p.m. on Monday, August 10. The event will be recorded and shared for those unable to attend.

Parents and guardians can find more information by visiting the Back to School section of CPS' website, calling the customer care hotline: (513) 363-0123 or following CPS' Facebook (@CincinnatiPublicSchools), Twitter (@IamCPS) and Instagram (@IamCPS) channels.