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Some parents choose homeschooling amid COVID surge

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Public School students returned from winter break January 3. However, with a rise in COVID cases, some parents have decided their kids will learn from home until things get better.

“It was a tough decision to come too, but we decided that this was the thing to do,” Molly Shook said. She’s a parent to students enrolled at CPS and Norwood.

The recent surge in COVID cases on the back of the Omicron variant has some parents like Shook concerned.

“We know that from an academic standpoint, it would be ideal for our kids to be in school, but we also know that this Omicron variant is really transmissible. Even with the mitigations that they have in place like masks and vaccinations, it can still be transmitted," Shook said.

It's affecting more than students and parents , but also staff and administrators. North College Hill School District superintendent Eugene Blalock posted a video on YouTube. He shared the struggles the pandemic is bringing to overwhelmed schools.

“I’m calling on all my prayer warriors and well wishers," he said at the beginning of the video.

He added, “Most superintendents and boards of education, we feel helpless. Do we close school? Do we move to remote learning? Do we move to a hybrid learning environment where students can only come to school 2 or 3 times a week? We find ourselves vexed and confused knowing we can't make everyone happy.”

He explained how during winter break he spoke with educators who are contemplating leaving the field. He asked the public to keep the schools in their thoughts and prayers.

While classes resume, testing sites are continuing to see a high demand with no end in sight.

“This is rivaling last year when we were at the peak," Jeff Wellens with Gravity Diagnostics, a testing center, said.

Covington-based Gravity Diagnostics saw a higher demand after December 23. Sunday alone it tested close to 3,000 people. It’s keeping workers busy.

“The actual operations here within the lab, probably extend 20 hours across a couple shifts.," Wellens said. “We're going to be here as long as we need to.”

It's almost like deja vu seeing issues the pandemic first brought in 2020. Parents like Shook are monitoring the trends.

“I think for the time being our decision is to keep (the children) them out for a few days and see what the situation looks , like whether there's a lot of spreads in school,” Shook said.

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