Registration opens for CMS Full Remote Academy, families faced with difficult choice

Registration opens for CMS Full Remote Academy, families faced with difficult choice

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools district (CMS) has opened registration for a new remote academy for families opting out of in-classroom learning for their students this school year.

The Full Remote Academy is for families “who would like to choose remote learning only rather than attend in-classroom onboarding and/or move to in-classroom instruction should CMS transition to Plan A or Plan B in the future.”

Registration is open from Friday, July 17 to Sunday, July 26 at 11:59 p.m. Families can register for the academy by clicking here.

CMS recently voted to have two weeks of in-person learning to start the year, with fully-virtual instruction by the third week of school.

The plan was named “Plan B Plus Remote.”

This means for the first two weeks of school, students will be separated into three groups per school and will attend school on a rotation of in-person plus remote learning.

By the third week of school, instruction for all CMS students will be fully-virtual only.

When remote learning begins – students will not receive in-person instruction. CMS buildings will be open only for staff for essential functions.

“We are confident that Plan B-Plus Remote is the best plan for educating our students,” said Elyse Dashew, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education chairperson. “We want to provide a rigorous educational experience in the safest way possible for our students and staff.”

Officials say the first two weeks are more of an “onboarding period”, where students meet their teachers, to know who they’ll be learning with.

The two-week onboarding period will consist of students being assigned to one of three groups; one-third of students will be assigned to group A, the next one-third will be assigned to group B, and the next one-third to group C.

Students will attend in-person onboarding instruction on their group’s assigned days within the first two weeks of the school year.

This is how the three groups of students are organized in the first two weeks of school.

  • Group A comes in Monday through Wednesday, three consecutive days.
  • Group B comes in Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday.
  • Group C comes in the last three days of the second week of school which would be Wednesday through Friday.

Parents will be notified which group their student is assigned.

If students/families choose the fully-remote academy, your child would not have the rotation of first two weeks of in-person learning.

CMS families are now tasked with the decision of which choice to make for their students. The last day to sign up for the Full Remote Academy is July 26.

“We’ve gone back and forth with it of ‘should we go the virtual only or should we be okay with the B plus remote?‘” said Kelly LeValley, who has four school-aged kids.

Eventually she decided to choose the Plan B Plus Remote option because it has the flexibility to change depending on the number of COVID-19 cases.

According to the CMS FAQ page going over the Full Remote Plan, it seems students who enroll in that option would have to stay in it through the end of the semester.

On the FAQ page it says the difference between the two when compared is that the full remote students “will stay remote, while the rest of the district may move between Models A, B, & C.” Students can switch or opt in to the remote academy at the end of the semester (Dec 21).

Other parents are thinking about enrolling their students in private school, like Kristy Burleigh.

She was expecting more of a choice through CMS, either the true Plan B or remote. She said she feels like the Plan B Plus Remote option is taking away her choice to choose what’s best for her son.

“I don’t think there’s a right or wrong option here, I think its a compromise. I think CMS should have at least given parents the choice,” she said.

This plan was voted on during an emergency board meeting on Wednesday, July 15.

Part 2: Emergency Board Meeting

Part 2: Emergency Board Meeting - At this emergency meeting, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education will review the details of Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order regarding Guidance for School Reopening, approve a Remote Learning Plan as required by SB 704 and approve a Reopening of Schools Plan as permitted by SB 113.

Posted by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education on Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The CMS plan is designed to address worsening COVID-19 conditions and was an option given to districts by N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper in a statewide announcement on Tuesday.

Face coverings will be required for every teacher, staff and student from kindergarten through high school. To help, the state will be providing at least five reusable face coverings for every student, teacher and staff member.

CMS officials want to get back to in-person instruction, but they stress that they need more time, and that’s what they say Plan B Plus Remote does.

With transportation during the first two weeks of school, CMS says only one student would be allowed per seat.

CMS plans a robust remote-learning experience, using best practices learned in the fourth quarter of the last school year and in the months since.

District leaders and teachers have collaborated with education experts from across the country to prepare a more rigorous and engaging remote-learning program for all students at all grade levels.

“Our first priority is to provide access and equity in the learning experience for each of our students,” Superintendent Earnest Winston said. “Our staff is developing dynamic programs that will engage and inform students in exciting ways as they move into the new school year.”

CMS will communicate additional details about the plan in the coming days and weeks.

Parents are encouraged to update their contact information with their schools to ensure they receive this timely information.

Parents should also expect to receive information from their child’s school with specific information related to the first two weeks of school.

The CMS Call Center – 980-343-3001 – is prepared to field questions, concerns and comments about the operational plan.

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