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CMS leadership says they’re ready to return students to in-person learning, but decision is up to BOE

CMS says nearly a third of students have at least one failing grade.
Updated: Jan. 22, 2021 at 6:08 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - In a few short weeks, the CMS board of education will take another look at the county case numbers and decide if students will stay virtual or go back to in-person learning.

Right now, CMS says the plan is to send student back to in-person learning in mid-February. But that decision will depend on what the Mecklenburg County case numbers look like for COVID-19 spread in the community.

Some parents are concerned that virtual learning could be extended and many are nervous it will have long term effects on their kids.

“I found this notepad. She wrote she hates school, ‘no math, no homework,’” said Melissa Klink, who has a daughter in kindergarten. “I really loved school growing up. It’s just hard watching her struggle.”

Klink is one of many parents who are frustrated and looking for a light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’m hoping they’ll give us an option for in person learning,” she said. “The challenge of having a 6 year old doing zoom meeting every day is not easy.”

And right now that is the plan for CMS. The board approved last week to return students starting on February 15 for younger students and the 22nd for middle and high school students. But as many parents have seen before, things can change quickly.

MORE: CMS board votes to remain in virtual learning until Feb. 12

“It’s difficult. I wish I had crystal ball to say what’s going to happen in 2, 3 ‚4, 5 weeks,” said Superintendent Earnest Winston. “As of today, we are ready our staff readiness metrics, show we are ready.”

He says they plan to stick to the schedule which was voted on, but said his recommendation will depend on what the COVID-19 numbers look like and what is the safest option for students and staff.

CMS is working hard to ensure students can get back into the classroom because they say it’s a better environment for learning.

According to CMS 32.9% of students in grades 3-13 have at least one failing grade. They say this number is up from previous years.

That number is even higher for black students, Hispanic students, English learning students and students with special needs.

“Even when remote learning is deemed necessary by our board, those are unacceptable results,” said Winston.

Carolyn Loudenslager is a CMS parent but also on the board of directors of Big Brothers, Big Sisters. She says many of those kids are disadvantaged by remote learning.

“Id say we are a strong as our weakest child and if we cant help the most vulnerable children in our community, we’re not doing a good job,” she said while advocating for more in-person school options for kids.

CMS leadership also gave an update saying they are working on vaccine plans for teachers. Right now, teachers are not eligible for vaccines but they are preparing to get as many teachers vaccinated, who want to be vaccinated, as quickly as possible.

The board will reconvene on February 9th after reviewing county case numbers to take a vote on returning to school or staying virtual.

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