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Columbus Teachers Union Still Negotiating Over District's Reopening Plan

Columbus City Schools Board of Education
David Holm
Columbus City Schools Board of Education

The Columbus teachers union says it can’t formalize an opinion on the district’s plan for the upcoming school year until collective bargaining takes place.

Tuesday night, Columbus City Schools recommended a fall reopening plan that would balance in-person classes with remote learning for grades K-8, but high school students completely out of the classroom for at least the first half of the school year.

Columbus Education Association president John Coneglio says the union will prioritize students’ health and safety in its negotiations.

“Our focus ultimately is to make sure that kids are learning, right? In the safest atmosphere as possible," Coneglio says. "All of that stuff can be worked out."

Since the plan is still malleable, he says the union is reserving judgement on what’s been proposed so far.

“I don’t know if how the district presented it, maybe it was pretty on paper, but I don’t know how it would look in the real world,” Coneglio says.

The plan is still considered tentative because the district is awaiting guidance from the state, as well as the teacher's union. Gov. Mike DeWine is expected to provide reopening guidelines for Ohio school districts on Thursday.

In addition to the class changes, Columbus City Schools suggested cleaning school buildings each night with disinfectant and barring all in-person field trips. Employees would be required to wear masks, but they would remain optional for students outside of school buses.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.