37,000-plus Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools elementary students return for in-person learning

Updated: Nov. 2, 2020 at 8:45 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - For the first time in seven months, thousands of Charlotte-Mecklenburg students went back to school Monday.

Carpool lanes filled with the rumble of cars dropping students off - while inside the school, the sounds of busy classrooms filled the halls.

The carpool lane is where the in-person learning safety changes start.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools staff were seen taking temperatures of students at Winding Springs Elementary - and double checking students daily virtual symptom screening survey - a requirement, before students step foot in the building.

Similar protocols are also in place for students riding the bus.

“It’s a little nerve racking," said parent Roderick Hall.

Hall had two kids heading back for in-person learning Monday.

“It felt like the real first day," said Hall.

Hall admitted, it was strange not being able to go inside the school to meet his sons’ teachers, or send them off for the ‘first day back’ hug in the classroom.

But he praised his children’s school, for keeping his sons’ original teacher during the remote learning process, through the transition back to in-person learning.

“We’re doing all that we can to make sure that our buildings are safe,” says Superintendent Earnest Winston.

Inside the classroom, students get their own set of supplies, to cut down on risks. Desks are spaced apart for social distancing and masks are always on - unless it’s snack or lunchtime.

Step inside a Winding Springs classroom and you’ll notice class sizes are much smaller.

That’s because about a third of this elementary school’s students are in the full remote academy.

Less students in the building helps with social distancing.

“We’ve still got the K through five students split up into two groups," said Board of Education chair, Elyse Dashew. “We do want to maintain as much social distancing as possible.”

Monday just over 37,000 students returned in person with Rotation A.

Come Thursday, its Rotation B’s turn, with similar numbers.

The latest metrics update reports six new cases of students and 21 new cases of staff members testing positive for COVID-19.

The district also reported one school in which 23 individuals are quarantining due to possible exposure.

CMS does not identify which schools have these cases.

If a student tests positive, Winston says families will be notified.

“We ask that families notify their administrators, their teachers as soon as possible,” says Winston. "So we know, to make sure that we keep the kid at home.”

“Answer the screening questions truthfully, and don’t take any chances," stressed Dashew. "If you’re, you’re feeling under the weather, and your kids can be under the weather keep them home.”

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