Columbus City Schools announced that seven schools will return to classes on Wednesday.
In an email Tuesday, the district wrote that the following schools will return to in-person classes:
- Berwick Alternative PreK-8
- Johnson Park Middle School
- Ridgeview Middle School
- South High School
- West Mound Elementary School
- Whetstone High School
- Yorktown Middle School
Six schools will continue to be or will transition to remote learning due to staff shortages. The schools include:
- Eastmoor Academy
- Fairmoor Elementary School
- Independence High School
- Linden-McKinley STEM Academy
- Sherwood Middle School
- Woodward Park Middle School and sixth grade at Walden
Valley Forge Elementary School will continue to be remote due to a partial heating outage, which has kept students and teachers out since Monday.
The district added that all practices and games for middle school athletics at remote schools will be canceled, while all high school athletics will continue.
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Columbus City Schools Superintendent Talisa Dixon addressed the staffing issues during Tuesday night’s board of education meeting.
Dixon said because of the rise of the omicron variant, the district “will continue to face these issues for the foreseeable future.”
She added that not only has COVID caused teachers to call in sick, but also the flu and seasonal sickness, resulting in the closures. The district has also placed central office staff in the schools to support buildings that are in-person.
“We will continue to provide this additional support,” Dixon said. “But we know that this model is not sustainable if we continue to see the increasing number of teacher and staff in our school buildings.”
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Dixon said that the district has provided over 40,000 KN90 and KN95 masks for district staff members.
Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts said the department is encouraging schools to remain open.
“So with masking — universal masking — with vaccinations and with cleaning and some type of social distancing to reduce interactions as well as contact tracing, I feel like our kids are at their safest place when they are at school,” Roberts said via Zoom videoconferencing. “That’s where they belong.”
In response to a question by board member Tina Pierce, Dixon said the threshold for determining whether a school is closed is being determined building-to-building, and has largely been based on staff availability.
“School ‘A’ may have 200 students with 15 staff members, school ‘B’ may have a school with 300 with 10 staff, so it just depends on the staffing, which is our largest determinant,” Dixon said.
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