CMS Metrics Advisory Committee discuss ways to return to in-person learning

Updated: Aug. 27, 2020 at 5:01 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg School leaders are starting to put a plan in place for when it is safe for students to return to the buildings for in-person learning.

Thursday morning, the CMS Metrics Advisory Committee held a meeting to discuss what they want to see happen in the community in order to bring kids back in.

“I would not feel comfortable unless I had very clear guidelines and I don’t feel like we have that quite yet,” CMS teacher and parent Trinette Atri told WBTV after the meeting.

The Metrics Advisory Committee discussed three main metrics: 7 and 14-day averages, percent positivity and hospitalizations.

Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris says each of those metrics is currently trending downwards in Mecklenburg County.

She says communication will be key.

“The more transparent you can be with the community, the more the parents and everybody else is going to trust you’re doing what you need to do,” Harris said.

The plan is to train staff members in symptom screening, isolation room procedures and positive or potential case procedures.

Atri says they also need to train parents.

“How am I as a parent supposed to know the difference does my kid have the flu or COVID?” Atri said. “We have seen over the years many parents will give their kids Tylenol and send them to school.”

Another concern is having enough staff.

Right now, the vacancies include 45 teachers, 27 custodians, 16 bus drivers and 38 school nurses.

So far 86 staff members are on leave due to impacts of coronavirus and 641 staff members are on alternate work requests due to being in the high-risk category.

These are all things they will need to keep in mind as they determine how to bring students in.

“We should account for these employees potentially not being on-site in the classroom, recognizing that if we reopen the number of employees that would apply for leave, that number could increase,” committee member Kolette Rogers said.

The committee will meet again next week.

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