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CPS considering phased approach to in-person learning

Columbia Public Schools is looking at a four-phase approach to getting students back to in-person learning.

The board of education did not officially start that process during Monday night’s meeting.

The draft of a four-phase return to hybrid in-person learning considered during the Sept. 14, 2020 CPS board of education meeting

Superintendent Peter Stiepleman told the board, once it is safe enough to return, CPS would start with students in first grade and younger, plus some others like those in special education and technical education.

“It just creates for us a smaller number of people in the building. We can separate out more, and it gives us just a greater likelihood that we can stay in.”

Stiepleman told the board Monday that 130 employees, mostly teachers, have either tested positive for coronavirus or had to quarantine as a close contact since Aug. 24.

“Every time we have a positive case, we would need to quarantine the child, and the children in the classroom, and the teacher,” Stiepleman said. “I think this is the biggest issue for CPS.”

We could see a timetable to start some in-person learning during the CPS board’s work session on Sept. 24. Columbia Public Schools started with online-only learning for most students, because of a big rise in coronavirus cases since June.

“We all have to do what we need to do to drive these numbers down so we can sit here before all of you and vote yes let’s put them back in-seat,” CPS board of education president Helen Wade says.

(This story was last updated at 10:46 a.m. Tuesday.)

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