COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–On Thursday, August 26, Columbus City Schools will welcome back students to five-day a week, in-person learning for the first time in more than 500 days. It’s a welcome sign for many, including Superintendent and CEO, Dr. Talisa Dixon.

“First of all, I want to say to our parents and our students, thank you. Thank you for trusting Columbus City Schools with your students. For our students, we’re so excited to see you and welcome you back to school,” said Dixon.

The safety measures students experienced when the previous school year ended last spring will remain in place. Everyone will be required to wear a mask inside of CCS buildings, whether they are vaccinated or not.

“Make sure you mask up. We’re going to continue with social distancing, especially where appropriate. There are some spaces that could be a little challenging, but our teachers and our principals are going to make sure that social distancing still happens. And a lot of signage, just to remind students from the spring that these mitigation strategies are still in place,” said Dixon.

This is coming as CCS tries to balance welcoming back students with rising COVID-19 cases, including among children. That has left some parents wondering what it would take to move students back to a hybrid or virtual model, as was used last school year. As of now, Dr. Dixon said the district is focused on the current in-person plan.

“We’ve been working closely with Columbus Public Health, and they have been right beside us, providing the guidance that we need, so if we have to make a different decision we would be ready for that,” said Dixon.

Dr. Dixon mentioned all the transportation issues have been resolved, though CCS is still looking for more drivers. Overall, she said the district is prepared to welcome back its nearly 50,000 students back inside the classroom.

“There’s so much learning that happened this summer but we’re so ready to bring you back, face-to-face, and just nurture you, and just give you all the care that you deserve so that you can be that student and reach that potential that we know that you can,” said Dixon.

Columbus City Schools has created a web portal with all the necessary information for students and parents. You can find it here: https://www.ccsoh.us/Page/10715