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Cincinnati Public Schools Pull Back Due to Major COVID-19 Employee Shortage | Cincinnati News | Cincinnati

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Schools in Cincinnati are returning to distance learning after a wave of COVID-19 knocked many district employees off the road.

It seems Cincinnati’s public schools are getting completely remote after all.

All CPS schools will switch to distance learning five days a week, with in-person classes scheduled to resume on Monday, January 24, but only if there are enough staff available. Employees should work remotely if they can. All schools will be closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday January 17th.

The board made the decision based on staff, not security, they said.

At its January 3 meeting, the CPA Board of Directors initially tabled decisions regarding school closures or a return to distance learning, despite nearly 400 CPA employees halting their work this day. that day due to COVID-19 on the first day returning from winter vacation. Substitute teachers, administrators and dozens of central office staff filled the vacancies, but educators and administrators said this was not sustainable with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus spreading rapidly in Ohio and Kentucky.

During this Jan. 3 meeting, CPS Acting Superintendent Tianay Amat offered to switch to distance learning until at least Jan. 18, depending on the spread of the COVID-19 community and staff levels. Amat said staff shortages included educators, medical staff and catering staff.

Amat’s proposal recommended that all district schools switch to distance learning as they did in 2020, but some board members advocated for each school to decide whether to recruit or close. Later that week, some CPS schools switched to distance education anyway due to severe staff shortages. As of the end of last week, at least eight schools were using distance education, and more are said to be adopting it if the snowy weather did not cancel classes.

Coronavirus cases in Cincinnati increased in December, which has been largely attributed to the spread of the virus during and after indoor Thanksgiving gatherings. According to city data, cases increased with the Delta variant from July to October before dropping for a few weeks and increasing again in December as the Omicron variant spread rapidly.

Cases continue to rise in January after the Christmas and New Year’s gatherings, with active COVID-19 cases in Hamilton County nearly doubling from 11,700 to 20,141 in a week, according to the Commissioner of Laws. Hamilton County Public Health Greg Kesterman Jan. 5.

“We are definitely at a time when we are seeing more cases than ever before,” Kesterman said.

Also on January 5, Dr. Richard Lofgren, president and CEO of UC Health, said hospitals in Greater Cincinnati are being strained by a virus that continues to change.

“This pandemic is not over,” Lofgren said, echoing what he told commissioners in December. “In fact, it’s getting more and more intense than it’s ever been in the almost two years we’ve been battling with this. And I’m the first to tell you that all of us, we’re sick of this. ”

Lofgren said the contagiousness of the Omicron variant, which has largely become the dominant variant in the United States, is “simply astounding.” He said Omicron is not causing “quite the intensity of the disease” like the recent Delta variant did, but is spreading much faster within communities.

“It really doubles the number of cases every two or three days,” Lofgren said. “It’s a math problem. And while a small number of people require hospitalization, a small number of a large number is a very large number of people. We are overwhelming our health systems. “

Lofgren said that, as in the education sector, there is a severe shortage of healthcare workers which, combined with the contagiousness of the virus, is straining local hospitals and reducing the care and procedures available for them. non-COVID patients.

“Frontline staff and nurses and providers have just done a heroic job throughout this pandemic. They cannot sustain the idea of ​​doing double shifts and overtime like they have.” , did he declare.

Authorities have stressed the importance of COVID-19 vaccines, masking and physical distancing to stay safe, as these methods have been effective in helping “flatten the curve” in 2020. Hamilton County is providing vaccines Free COVID-19 and Home Test Kits. Although the kits recently ran out, officials said more are on the way. Learn more and find locations on testandprotectcincy.com.

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