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Columbus school opens amid recommendations for online learning only

Students at{ } South Columbus Preparatory Academy. (WSYX/WTTE)
Students at South Columbus Preparatory Academy. (WSYX/WTTE)
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A Columbus school is opening its doors this week to classroom instruction and not abiding by city health commissioner recommendations to keep kids home.

Kindergarten through seventh graders at South Columbus Preparatory Academy were instructed to keep their distance, wash their hands and keep faces covered when school started Monday.

“Being anxious Sunday night, yes,” said Superintendent Dr. Chad Carr. “Once we got in here Monday morning, everything just kind of fell into place.”

South Columbus Prep started four years ago along Groveport Road and sits within the Columbus City Schools District. CCS announced it would keep its kids home for the first quarter with Columbus Public Health recommending only online learning for now.

“Until it becomes a mandate and the risk level goes up,” said Dr. Carr. “We know that we can serve all three modalities and help the families that have helped us for the last four years.”

South Columbus Prep has nearly 50 charter schools in Ohio that Accel sponsors. Now servicing as a corporate model, the school is offering its parents online-only learning, hybrid learning or a full return to the classroom for students at the same time.

“We offered anyone who had a pre-existing condition or anyone with concerns, we let them choose the online platform,” said Dr. Carr. “They can be one of our online teachers.”

Dr. Carr said he’s ready to shut down the school due to an outbreak but also doesn’t want students to suffer any COVID-19 related consequences.

“With any break, that gap will grow and grow and kids can get anywhere to up to a year behind,” said Dr. Carr.

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He said he wants to keep classroom instruction available. He had 25 student spots available Monday which decreased Tuesday due to demand. He said if he reaches full maximum capacity, he’ll have to hire another teacher to allow more students to enroll.

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