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Petition To Pause CPS' Return To Blended Learning Gets More Than 3,000 Signatures

More than 3,000 people have signed a petition demanding that Cincinnati Public Schools stay remote until all of its teachers can get vaccinated.

Nearly two weeks ago, the CPS board determined that the school district would begin transitioning to blended learning starting Feb. 1. This decision was made when Hamilton County was at the "purple" level on the state’s Public Health Advisory System, which indicates severe spread of coronavirus. Nikki Mayhew is a CPS parent and the author of the petition. She said she was appalled by the decision and doesn’t think the board was hearing from parents who were advocating for remote learning.

"I really want the voices of the teachers and the larger community to be heard," Mayhew said. "I really do believe that those of us who have advocated for a return to school are just a vocal minority."

She said she is losing trust in the school district, mainly due to the decisions being made during the pandemic.

"I do feel that the data they’re presenting is often, I feel, skewed to fit the narrative that they want to fulfill," Mayhew said.

In December, CPS said Cincinnati needed to average under 40 new daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people to ensure a safe return. The decision to return to blended was made when the city was averaging 66 new cases.

The petition wants teachers to have enough time to get vaccinated before returning to classrooms. Mayhew said pushing to reopen at the height of the virus is "irresponsible."

"I keep hearing this message from the board that schools are the safest place for our kids," Mayhew said. "I kind of resent that to be honest because it reflects a narrative that people aren't capable of taking care of themselves."

Teachers will begin receiving vaccinations Thursday. More than 500 staff and 300 students have tested positive for COVID-19 since May 2020.

Last November, CPS switched to distance learning due to staffing limitations caused by COVID-19.

Read the petition and see the accompanying video urging CPS to keep classes remote below.

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