CMS students prepare to return to classroom, parents ask ‘why didn’t this happen sooner?’

Some students return to the classroom in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte Mecklenburg School parent Meg Kemp shares a feeling many other parents are feeling, too. Kemp is ready to get her kids back in the classroom to learn in-person.

“Nothing compares to in person instruction," says Kemp.

But Kemp—and other CMS parents feel like the district is dragging its feet.

“Why are we not accelerating this plan? Why can’t middle school and high school phase in at the same time?" asks Kemp.

Tuesday the first wave of just over 12 hundred students in the Exceptional Children’s program will return in person.

“Especially when you consider the types of disabilities that some of these students have.. the inability to actually access computers," says Associate Superintendent of Exceptional Children for CMS, Dr. Ann White.

White says 86 schools across the district will welcome back students in the EC program on Tuesday.

After Tuesdays first wave—the remaining nearly half of the students in the EC program will return as their class groups get phased-in beginning with K-5 on Nov. 2, 6-8 on Nov. 23 and high school on Jan. 5.

White says all buildings are ready and prepared to welcome students back. She says buildings hosting students Tuesday have working HVAC units that have been checked out and meet the districts health and safety standards.

White also reports none of the districts current nurse vacancies impact the programs ability to safely provide or meet students in the EC programs needs.

After that, grade levels are added on a two week basis, and split into rotating co-horts.

“Yesterday I was in tears," says CMS parent Kim Wojnowich.

Wojnowich has highschoolers. With CMS’s current phased plan, her kids wont go back for in-person learning until January.

“I was so mad. All these kids are outside and my kids are in the house on a computer," says Wojnowich. "There’s no consistency in this. There’s no sense in this.”

Some parents are asking the district to speed up the timeline - and give families the option to send their children back sooner if they feel it’s safe.

“I am not here to tell another family what they should do," says Wojonowich.

“What about the rest of us that don’t have a choice?" asks Kemp. "We are being forced to learn like this. And that’s not what we wanted.”

As for speeding up the districts timeline, faster on track for a Plan A, Superintendent Earnest Winston says it’s an option that is available to the district, but one which the board would have to agree on as a whole - and consider looking at the current progress of their phased approach, before jumping into making any decisions.

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