CMS gets ready to welcome back some students starting Monday

Updated: Oct. 28, 2020 at 11:23 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Beginning Monday, elementary schools in Charlotte-Mecklenburg will open doors for in-person learning.

Older students will be phased in weeks from now.

Wednesday night, the CMS board met to talk through the plan, ask questions and voice concerns since we are still in the middle of a global pandemic.

Health officials say young kids have a low chance of exposure to the virus. Even at that – we know kids can get COVID, so the school board says every precaution will be taken to protect returning students.

The study of academics has a lot to do with numbers. Depending on what they represent, some look better than others.

That’s why school board members took a long hard look when the metrics dashboard concerning school readiness was laid out in front of them at their meeting Wednesday night.

Several categories were studied and color-coded to represent what looks good, and what doesn’t. Health and safety training, no quarantines and no school clusters were all in the green. Schools with cases and a nurse coverage plan hovered in the yellow.

In looking at this chart, things appear on the high side of pretty good. The only real problem is the case rate per 100,000 people. That was above 100, earning it a red designation.

“One of the reasons for the case count being up is we are testing a lot more right now. We’ve got more availability of being tested and more people interested in being tested.” explained Gibbie Harris, the Mecklenburg County Health Director.

Board members discussed plans and protocols. Social distancing, washing hands and wearing masks. The health director says if someone is exposed to COVID-19, chances are they didn’t get it at school.

“In most cases, we are not seeing spread in the classroom.” Harris reassured board members.

Most times, Harris says students will contract the virus outside of school by means of friends, family or large gatherings.

If a child shows up and is exhibiting symptoms, the plan is to isolate them and get them back home as soon as possible. If a parent can’t pick them up, buses will be on standby to do the job.

“Our transportation department has made arrangements to have buses available by geographic area.” according to Kathy Elling the Chief School Performance Officer

Harris says parents need to set the example. Make sure your child learns how to be safe, and not just power through it if they feel off.

“We have a culture where the work ethic is to work unless you can’t. This is not the year for that.” said Harris.

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