COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and other city leaders are emphasizing keeping in-person learning at schools after a press conference at Columbus Public Health. You can watch the full press conference in the video player above.

“COVID-19 is here to stay and we must learn how to live with it.” said Mayor Ginther. Ginther said the community has a responsibility to keep in-person learning going.

The Columbus Education Association released a letter last Wednesday they sent to the Columbus City Schools administration to enact a two-week remote learning period to “get us through the worst of the current COVID-19 Omicron surge.” 2,800 staff members signed the letter.

CEA President John Coneglio issues a statement after the press conference that reads:

“Regarding today’s press conference, we have no disagreement that quality in-person learning is best for our students. What we have at the moment, however, is chaotic, unsafe, understaffed learning environment, which is why nearly 3,000 CCS educators have called for a two-week remote learning pause to get us through the worst of the current COVID-19 surge. The sudden appearance of the business community to lecture teachers on the importance of education while they continue to happily cash in on tax breaks that harm our students, as well as City Hall politicians emerging from their deafening silence to discuss keeping the economy going, is confirmation of exactly who is making these decisions and why.”

CEA President John Coneglio

Columbus Public School Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon said students are safest in the classroom and that Columbus must maintain in-person learning. “Our students deserve to be in school.” said Dixon.

“Schools are essential and kids belong in the classroom where they can learn and engage.” said Dr. Mysheika Roberts of Columbus Public Health.