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Columbus Teachers Union Says District's Hybrid Learning Plan Isn't Final

Champion Middle School in Columbus.
Mary Rathke
Champion Middle School in Columbus.

The Columbus City Schools union president says it needs to negotiate with the district before returning to in-person education.

Columbus City Schools released plans Tuesday that said most students would return to the classroom part-time starting October 19.

Columbus Education Association president John Coneglio says nothing can be set in stone since the union and district have yet to finalize negotiations.

“It would be nice to come out before they make a grand announcement to come out together as a team so I can explain to my members what’s going on and we can explain to the public how it’s gonna be done,” Coneglio says.

Students have been learning remotely since the beginning of the academic year due to COVID-19. Since nothing can go forward without union negotiations, Coneglio says he’s had multiple meetings with members of Columbus City Schools administration throughout the day.

“It was basically a unilateral statement by the superintendent, and we’re just saying, ‘Hey, put the brakes on this for a little bit,’” Coneglio says. “We have a lot of things to negotiate.”

Coneglio declined to comment on what terms the union wants the district to agree to.

"There’s things that in order to come back safely, we need to negotiate some things and talk about some things," Coneglio says. "What is that blended model gonna look like, and how can we make it so we do right by kids?"

Under the new hybrid model proposed by the district, most students would attend class in person two days per week, with grades coming back in phases. The majority of high schoolers would engage exclusively in remote learning, and everyone in buildings would be required to wear masks.

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.