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Teacher Absences Force Remote Learning At 10 Columbus Schools

school desks in a classroom

Updated January 3, 2021, at 3:22 p.m.

Hundreds of central Ohio children started the first school day of the new year from home. Staff absences pushed Columbus City Schools to move to remote learning at 10 district schools on Monday.

Those schools include:

  • Berwick PK-8
  • Burroughs Elementary
  • Duxberry Park Elementary
  • Eastmoor Academy
  • Johnson Park Middle
  • Linden McKinley STEM 7-12
  • Marion-Franklin High
  • Ridgeview Middle 
  • South High 7-12
  • West Mound Elementary

Staff at the 10 schools are still expected to report on-site for their normal work schedule.
The remote learning decision comes amid the growing surge of coronavirus in Ohio, which reported more than 37,000 new infections over the weekend. The district's announcement did not specify how many employees were out, or if the absences were COVID-related.

Reynoldsburg high school students also went back to remote learning Monday, due to the COVID spike and the ongoing bus driver shortage.

Ohio Education Association vice president Jeff Wensing said while the vast majority of districts have returned to in-person learning, others are having to make tough choices. Wensing said the OEA, which represents 121,000 teachers, faculty members and staff professionals, is encouraging more community members to receive the COVID-19 shots to help end the spread of the disease.

"We really would prefer as educators across the board that we are face to face with our students. And we need to continue to do our part to slow the spread when it comes to mitigating this omicron variant," said Wensing.

Valley Forge Elementary School also moved to remote learning Monday because of a heating outage.

Steve Brown grew up in nearby Richwood, Ohio and now lives there with his wife and sons. He started his journalism career as a weekend board operator at WOSU while majoring in journalism at Ohio State, where he also wrote for the student newspaper The Lantern and co-founded the organization Students for Public Broadcasting.
Matthew Rand is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher.