CMS and parents prepare for thousands to return back to school on Monday

Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 6:24 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Many Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools parents and students are saying goodbye to remote learning on Friday.

At least partially.

Starting on Monday, CMS students kindergarten through 5th grade have the option to return to school in a rotating schedule.

Nearly 40,000 students are going back on the A and B rotating schedule for in-person learning. That leaves about 23,500 students in K-5 still in the full remote academy.

Many families are preparing for a little bit more normalcy as their youngest kids go back to school.

“Mentally prepared and emotionally prepared. My kids are ecstatic," said Travis Nicolaysen, who has a kindergartener and 3rd grader in CMS schools.

Nicolaysen said the months of zoom classes have been draining not only for his kids but also for him as a single dad. He said he wants to focus on being the best parent he can be, not necessarily the best teacher.

He said his kids are most excited to meet their friends and teacher, which up until this point, they’ve only met online.

But it’s going to look a lot different going back to class.

Nicolaysen was looking forward to some traditions that just aren’t happening this year.

“I don’t get to walk my little girl to her first day of class," he said. “I have to show her a video of how to get to class.”

CMS says policies like not letting parents walk their kids to class are in place to bring students back but keep them and staff as safe as possible.

“We remind everyone to social distance and wear their masks and wash their hands. Everyone’s been doing a great job, even the littlest ones," said Monica Adamian the coordinated school health specialist.

But not every parent is sending their children back to in-person learning.

Eric Thompson is keeping three of his children at home to continue remote learning saying he’s a little more apprehensive.

“It’s going to be hard to control. Us as adults aren’t controlling it well," he said. "We have a spike and we just believe it’s going to spill over into the school system. We have to be careful and mindful of whatever we do.”

But one of his kids has special needs. She’s going back to school to get the attention she requires, a tough choice for any parent.

We’re just going to have to take it day by day, week by week," Thompson said. "For just safety reasons, we’re going to do the best as we can for as long as we can until something else makes sense.”

When it comes to classroom size, CMS says they can’t guarantee 6 feet social distance between desks and students.

CMS says that will depend on each school and how many students opted to stay in the remote learning academy and how many chose to go back to school.

It all depends on the breakdown of students in the classroom and students still doing the full remote academy.

“We know there are schools out there’s with a lower percentage where that 6-foot distancing will not be guaranteed. They will still be able to observe social distancing just not at that specific number," said Matthew Hayes, the deputy superintendent for academic services at CMS

For parents with children going back, before they get on the bus or arrive at school, they must be wearing a mask and they must complete the symptom screening survey for each child every day before in-person learning.

CMS also said as more kids come back to the classroom, they are going to continue to update their data metrics dashboard on their website, which keeps an updated list of how many students and staff have tested positive for COVID-19.

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