Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools restores spring break date, approves plan for distance learning

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools restores spring break date, approves plan for distance learning

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has voted to restore spring break to its original dates of April 13-17 after Governor Roy Cooper ordered all public schools in North Carolina to halt in-person classes until at least March 30.

The governor’s executive order went into effect on Monday, March 16.

The school board also approved the superintendent’s plan for distance learning for students, and remote and alternative work for employees.

On Friday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools initially voted to move spring break up to March 23-27. In addition, March 19 and March 20 would be teacher workdays. The motion passed with a 7-1 vote.

But with the governor’s new order, classes will be canceled immediately and the CMS Board of Education decided to vote to return to the original 2019-2020 school calendar, meaning that spring break will go back to being April 13-17 as originally planned.

“We are in a very fluid, very fast-moving health crisis,” said Elyse Dashew, chairperson of the Board of Education. “We hope that returning to the original academic calendar will provide a sense of stability in these uncertain times. However, we must all be prepared for the real possibility that our lives will not be back to normal by April. It is possible that schools will be closed much longer than two weeks.”

CMS called a limited-space emergency meeting for Monday to again talk about the school calendar. Dashew opened with speaking about the school calendar as CMS looked to restore the original spring break date.

The school board continued the meeting speaking on its distance learning plan in response to coronavirus guidelines.

District officials say Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers should enter all grades that need to be entered for work, tests, assignments up until last Friday (when instruction stopped) by this Thursday.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools released a statement:

"As COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases increase across the state, Governor Roy Cooper has ordered all K-12 schools to close for two weeks, effective Monday, March 16, 2020.

"Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will be closed for students for at least two weeks beginning Monday, March 16. This includes the CMS before- and after-school program.

"We will work to keep school buildings open on Monday. We will provide more information to staff as we receive more answers from the state.

"Given the Governor’s decision, the CMS Board of Education plans to schedule a meeting to vote to return to the original school calendar.

"The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented community health concern. CMS executive leaders, in partnership with local and state officials, are developing plans to address these exceptional circumstances.

“These plans include feeding students and continuing learning using a virtual platform. We understand that families and staff will be affected by this decision and we appreciate your patience and flexibility as we work to navigate the closure of schools. In the coming days, parents will receive information about opportunities for students to continue learning. As decisions are made, information will be shared through our normal communication channels. We will continue to provide updates to questions families and staff will likely have. Many responses will depend on decisions at the state level. Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience. We will communicate more details as they become available.”

CMS discussed the schedule changes due to coronavirus fears as the school district promotes cleanliness, social distancing and limiting students and staff exposure to individuals who may be affected.

“We must prepare for the worst in order to protect the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff," officials said as the meeting began.

CMS had already canceled all field trips in and outside of Mecklenburg indefinitely.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has suspended interscholastic athletics beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 13, through Monday, April 6, 2020. NC men’s and women’s basketball state championships also have been postponed.

CMS says they are following similar guidelines for middle school and K-8 athletics, which will be canceled indefinitely. This means that there will be no practices or games for middle and high school athletic teams.

In addition, any school-based events happening before or after normal school hours are canceled, effective Saturday, March 14.

All CMS competitions and school-based performances are canceled, effective Saturday, March 14. All before- and after-school enrichment programs will operate on a normal schedule.

Offsite professional development for staff will be conducted using a virtual format.

The CMS Career Fair scheduled for Saturday, April 4, is canceled.

District-sponsored community meetings – including budget and facility master plan informational sessions – have been canceled indefinitely.

All Community Use of Schools (CUS) events are canceled until further notice. CMS says they will work with partners who have CUS contracts to issue credits or process refunds as quickly as possible.

Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency for North Carolina amid coronavirus concerns Tuesday, a day after officials announced more positive COVID-19 cases in the state.

“Thank you for your patience during this rapidly changing environment. We will continue to monitor this situation and make decisions as they are needed, and we’ll keep you informed. Please visit our CMS website and follow us on social media for additional updates. Thank you for helping to keep our community safe and healthy,” a CMS press release read.

Copyright 2020 WBTV. All rights reserved.