Press Pause on the Premature Return to Blended Learning for Columbus City Schools

Columbus City School Board and Superintendent

We are concerned about the lack of communication and inclusion of key stakeholders in planning the early return to blended learning for Columbus City Schools. The Superintendent and the Board are not following through on the initially communicated plan of staying virtual for the first nine weeks of school. We have concerns about the safety of the students, teachers, and staff.

To: Columbus City School Board and Superintendent
From: [Your Name]

PETITION TO COLUMBUS CITY SCHOOLS BOARD OF EDUCATION

We, the undersigned parents, guardians, caregivers, and community members of the Columbus City School district (CCS) find unacceptable the manner in which the CCS Board of Education has made decisions about and communicated its school reopening plans.

Specifically, we find unacceptable the decision to reopen CCS in a blended learning model without meeting the original reopening criteria, without pursuing input from teachers, students, and caregivers, without the approval of teacher’s unions and associations (e.g., CEA, CSEA, CAA, and CSCSA), without communicating thorough safety protocols the district will put in place, and without giving teachers and staff enough time to implement these protocols.

We therefore request that the CCS Board of Education halt the current reopening plan until such a time as:

(1) the results of the Panorama student survey about digital learning are analyzed,

(2) a survey is distributed to CCS caregivers and the results analyzed, and

(3) teacher’s unions and associations have approved of the plan, as organizations that represent teachers’ abilities to conduct their jobs in these new circumstances with the highest degree of academic quality possible for the district’s students.

The Petitioners request that a future reopening plan includes reasonable consideration of the insights from stakeholders generated from items 1 - 3 above along with community health and safety data, and we further request that any future negotiated plans made by the administration are communicated as early as possible with transparent reasons for any revisions.

1. A July 28, 2020 media release stated that “CCS will remain all virtual through at least the first quarter of the traditional school year and through at least the first intersession of the year-round school calendar.” The recent announcement advances reopening by one week to October 19, 2020.

2. The so-called ‘Panorama Survey’ was distributed to students, presumably in grades 3 through 12, on or around October 5, 2020. No known parent communications were distributed about the goals or purpose of the survey. Based on parent and student reports, survey questions appeared to be designed to capture students’ opinions of their remote learning experience (e.g. challenges with technology, support received when completing assignments.