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Columbus City Schools Bringing Grades 6-12 Back To Classrooms Next Month

A row of school buses rests in a parking lot, Tuesday, April 7, 2020, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
Tony Dejak
Associated Press
A row of school buses rests in a parking lot, Tuesday, April 7, 2020, in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

Columbus City Schools announced plans to return 6-12th grade students to in-person learning in March.

In a letter Thursday, the district says it will implement a two-step plan to phase students back in. The move follows criticism from Gov. Mike DeWine over the district's failure to meet a March 1 deadline after accepting coronavirus vaccines for its teachers and staff.

Beginning in mid-March, students in grades 6, 11 and 12 will begin to attend in-person classes two days a week, while continuing to learn remotely the other three days. Those grades will be divided into two cohorts, with the first returning to classrooms on Monday, March 15 and the second beginning Thursday, March 18.

Students in grades 7-10 will follow a similar hybrid schedule, with the first cohort returning on Monday, March 22 and the second cohort on Thursday, March 25.

Since February 1, the district has transitioned nearly 24,000 students in grades K-5 to a blended learning model across 97 school buildings in the district.

Earlier this month, DeWine publicly criticized schools that had started vaccinating employees but had not committed to fully returning to in-person learning, which he said violated their agreement with the state. In response, Columbus City Schools said that transportation remainedtheir biggest barrier to bringing grades 6-12 to schools.

The district conducted a needs assessment survey for families to “opt out” of yellow-bus transportation, part of an effort to free up more seats so students can practice social distancing while going to school.

Columbus Schools is also partnering with COTA to use federal CARES Act funding to give high school students passes to access regional transportation services. Those passes will not replace the yellow-bus transportation services from the school, and will be free for students.

Columbus City Schools superintended Talisa Dixon will join a Virtual Family Engagement Super Session at 6 p.m. Thursday to answer questions from people in the district.

What questions do you still have about COVID-19 and the state's response? Ask below as part of our Curious Cbus series.


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.