Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts told WCMH Channel 4 that based on a five-week downward trend in COVID-19 cases, she believes it is safe for area students to return to the classroom.
“I have communicated that to the schools, that if they wanted to do in-person learning, now is a safe time to do it based on our community case count,” she told the station.
She acknowledged, however, that the logistics of reopening schools might require some more time.
“It’s up to the school boards and superintendents to decide if they have the time to move the ship and get the kids back in the classroom now.”
Columbus City Schools released a statement in response.
“We will be looking closely at the recommendations of Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts and her team regarding social distancing and health and safety protocols in our classrooms and on our school buses,” it read. “It is certainly good news for our community that we are seeing a steady decline in the number of COVID-19 cases. Columbus City Schools will continue to do its part to help maintain that trend, which includes returning to in-person learning in the safest way possible.”
Although the statement indicated that the plan remains to start the school year with students learning remotely, preparations are taking place for the next step–the move to the blended learning model. That step according to the WCMH report could come near the end of October.
“Our Operations team has also been preparing all of our school buildings and administrative sites so that they are ready with all of the proper health, safety, and social distancing measures in place when the time comes to welcome back our 50,000 students and 9,000 staff members in-person.”