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CMS welcomes K-8 middle school students back to classrooms amid questions about holiday travel

Updated: Nov. 30, 2020 at 5:53 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools brought back another wave of students into the classroom Monday for in-person learning.

This time it was middle schoolers, but it was a smaller group than originally planned. Students in grades 6, 7 and 8 headed back to the classroom.

The district didn’t have enough drivers to send all middle school students into Plan B at the same time, due to bus driver shortages.

But despite more students going back today, some parents chose to keep their children home from school.

Many parents told WBTV they were already worried about more students returning to the classroom, but the Thanksgiving holiday break has amplified their concerns.

Families worry that if students and teachers traveled over the holiday, they could have been exposed to COVID-19.

Meaning they could bring the virus back into the schools, without even knowing it.

Some teachers were so worried, they created a Facebook page called CMS Solidarity. The page is aimed at organizing a boycott. It encourages educators to call in sick or falsely answer the daily health survey; starting Monday, due to fears of COVID-19 exposure from holiday travel.

CMS reported 388 teacher absences Monday. In 2019 on the Monday after Thanksgiving, there were 514 teacher absences, per district communications.

Stephen Hairgrove is one of those teachers who reported in-person on Monday.

“Its been hard sitting in a classroom that’s empty,” says Hairgrove.

Hairgrove is a high school teacher.

They had to report back into the building Monday, but students aren’t scheduled to return until January.

But teaching aside, Monday was also a big day for Hairgrove, as a parent. More students joined his children, housed in their K-8 school

Hairgrove he says he feels confident his kids will continue to stay safe, even as more students are added in the mix.

“I’m very concerned for the teachers have those six through eight students,” says Hairgrove. “Right after Thanksgiving, and, you know, as the CDC said, if if you had traveled for Thanksgiving, assume that you’re infected.”

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