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More than 2,800 teachers sign letter requesting Columbus City Schools go temporarily remote

The union claims recent fluctuations in remote learning schedules are causing teachers and staff stress and anxiety.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — More than 2,800 teachers and staff have signed a letter requesting that Columbus City Schools switch to remote learning for two weeks. 

The letter, created by the Columbus Education Association, claims recent fluctuations in remote learning schedules are causing stress and anxiety on teachers and staff.

Since Columbus schools returned from break on Jan. 3, the district has continuously announced scheduled changes at some schools in response to a staffing shortage, fueled mainly by the pandemic. On Friday, the district canceled classes altogether, citing a high absence of bus drivers. 

In order to get back on track, CEA President John Coneglio suggests the district switch to remote learning for two weeks; a period he believes should provide enough time for staff to recover from the holidays.  

This comes amid a recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the state.

"We strongly believe that the best way to ensure maximum in-person learning in the coming months is to combat the current surge with decisive action today," it reads in the letter. 

According to the letter, data shows a 20-30% substitute fill rate within the district. 

"Even when educators can cover enough classes, reported staffing shortages in transportation and food service are causing late busses and inadequate distribution of meals to students," the letter states. 

According to the CEA, a draft plan for the coming weeks presented by CCS suggested administrators would switch to remote learning while classroom educators remained in person -- a move the CEA deemed "unacceptable and insulting." The CEA added the idea was shelved shortly after. 

Columbus City Schools employs more than 9,000 teachers and staff, more than 4,200 of whom are members of the CEA. 

You can read the letter in full here.