Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools votes to give students more in-person learning days

Updated: Mar. 9, 2021 at 11:11 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools voted to bring students back to the classroom more often.

The vote passed among school board members, 9-0.

This comes after the North Carolina State Board of Education adopted guidance from state health leaders urging schools to open for in-person learning “to the fullest extent possible” while following health and safety protocols.

At Tuesday’s CMS board meeting, 22 people spoke about their concerns, and why students should or shouldn’t return to in-person learning.

CMS will have all elementary school students (K through 5 and K through 8) back for in-person learning four days a week starting March 22 until May 11. Wednesday would be a remote-learning day for all students.

Deputy Superintendent Matt Hayes said the school building leaders in the elementary schools told him they need more time to prepare the schools to safely allow more students in building, which is why they are going back a week later.

Parent Stacy Staggs said if and when the board votes to have students back in-person more often, they need to be clear that they are going against CDC guidelines.

Middle school and high school students would be placed into two groups and have in-person learning two days a week starting March 15 until May 11. Wednesday would be a remote-learning day for all. Group A will be going in-person Monday and Tuesday, and Group B will be going in-person Thursday and Friday.

“We are very pleased to have students back in the classroom every week,” said Elyse Dashew, Board chair. “As we increase in-person instruction options for our students, we will continue to adhere to all guidelines from the NC DHHS, including masks, to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for our students and staff.”

Pre-kindergarten and students with disabilities continue daily in-person learning from March 15 to May 28.

Full Remote Academy will still be offered, however, CMS is not offering open changes in between plans unless there is specific criteria met.

Parent Meg Kemp said remote learning isn’t working for the majority of children, and asked for five days a week for children to be in-person.

“Kids deserve to be in-person,” Kemp said.

WBTV has learned it appears CMS is doing a good job keeping students and staff safe as there is no large number of teachers calling out.

Educator, parent and advocate Amanda Thompson-Rice, the final speaker signed, emphasized a safe return to the classroom. She said many educators are reaching out to her telling her they don’t feel like the CMS board/leadership is listening to them.

Teachers getting vaccinated makes a difference when making this decision, district officials said.

The school district will notify families of the new attendance rotations March 10. Individual schools also will communicate with families about group assignments as well as bus route changes, March 10-March 14.

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