CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - It has been a long time coming.
On Monday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools middle school and high school students returned to the classroom.
It has been nearly a year since those students were sitting at their desks, learning in person.
Because of COVID-19, high school and middle school students have been forced to learn remotely for months.
Finally, they will get a sense of normalcy, getting to see their friends and classmates in the hallway.
Students will be on an A-B-C schedule with each group back for in-person learning for one week and rotating with remote learning in-between. Parents say they are hopeful, and even with that schedule, just being back in-person is the foot in the door to eventually having more students at a time learning inside the classroom.
Kim Wojnowich, who has a freshman and a senior daughter at a CMS high school, said that with the pandemic and COVID-19 concerns, her children have had their high school journey shifted.
“I just want there to be moving forward,” Wojnowich said. “The purpose to me is we move forward, our kids see their teachers, learn as much as they can in that building which we know is more effective than being at home and that’s the bottom line.”
Wojnowich says it has been mentally draining for parents and students to learn remotely for this long.
“I think it’s important for the morale of families in CMS to see it happen this time because people are giving up,” Wojnowich said.
Last Monday, Pre-K and elementary students returned for in-person learning.
Wojnowich is just happy to have her two children get back their high school experience, even if it is sporadic.
“Seniors, there’s just no words on what they lost,” Wojnowich said.
Other CMS parents say they were excited to witness their kids milestones. Tami Whitby picked up her 6th grader at school for the first time.
“It was an early day for us but we were excited. She was in 6th grade so this was her first time walking into her school,” she said. Whitby’s other daughter had her first day of high school on Monday as well.
But other students made the choice to stick with virtual learning.
“If I go back to school, it will be a lot harder to transition again from remote to in-person,” junior Avery Hunning said.
CMS says safety measures are in place, including mask-wearing on the bus and inside buildings and requiring parents to turn in a symptom screening form.
“Safety is and will remain our top priority. We are closely monitoring community health metrics which are improving each week,” Superintendent Earnest Winston said.
As far as Inside the classroom, teachers are on double-duty, with in-person and remote learning, simultaneously.
“Even in in-person, we’re going to be at our desk in a Zoom class,” Hunning said. “If I’m going to be in a zoom class being taught through a computer, I’d rather be at home where I’m more comfortable and don’t have to take scheduled bathroom breaks.”