CMS Board gives superintendent authority to shift individual schools to remote learning as needed

Updated: Nov. 24, 2020 at 4:53 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education has granted Superintendent Earnest Winston the authority to transition individual schools from in-person learning to remote learning as needed.

The authority expires at the end of the current school year.

The transition to remote learning would happen if one of three criteria are met. The criteria are:

  • When the Mecklenburg County Health Department directs that an individual school building be closed for COVID-19 reasons;
  • When district staff, in collaboration with the Mecklenburg County Health Department, believe remote learning is needed for health and safety reasons; or
  • When the superintendent determines that staffing levels at an individual school prevent the school from providing a safe and healthy educational environment for students.

The motion also says the superintendent shall return students to in-person instruction as soon as he determines it is safe, and that the additional authority expires June 30, 2021.

The meeting comes as COVID-19 cases across North Carolina continue to rise, but sources tell WBTV the transition is instead due to staffing shortages. Sources say Charlotte Metro and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Academy could be transitioning to remote instruction.

“The COVID-19 pandemic requires us to pivot quickly and decisively,” said Board Chair Elyse Dashew. “If a school’s metrics indicate a risk to students or staff, or if staffing levels are so reduced by quarantines, leaves or illness that it’s impossible to operate an individual school safely, we need speedy decision-making. Giving Superintendent Winston this authority will make that possible.”

“Obviously, we want to keep students in the classroom as much as we can during this unprecedented time,” Winston said. “But we also want to keep them safe – and this virus can move very quickly, so we need to be able to move quickly too.”

When a school must move to remote learning, parents will be notified by school staff of the change through Connect5. District leaders are monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases at each school and providing a weekly group of metrics to the Board and the public.

Recently, families were asked to decide if their child will enroll in the district’s Full Remote Academy for the second semester.

The decision by families came as CMS reported a rise in its positive coronavirus cases across the district—in both students and staff.

CMS needs to know whether your child will attend school in-person, following the district’s rolling guidelines, or via the Full Remote Academy next semester.

Families have to communicate their decision to their child’s school via email, no later than November 30

Parents or guardians need to send that email to the school office, not to a student’s teacher.

In addition to deciding the type of learning your child will participate in the second semester, CMS says a survey is on the CMS website and on individual school websites regarding the need for CMS-provided transportation for the second semester.

The district says families will need to have their child’s student ID number to begin the survey.

All families must let the district know if they require morning and/or afternoon bus transportation so that an accurate schedule can be made.

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