CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education voted to increase in-person learning to four days per week for middle school and high school students.
The vote passed 8-1.
This comes after Superintendent Earnest Winston’s recommendation at Tuesday’s meeting for moving middle and high school students to Plan A (minimal social distancing) per recently enacted legislation allowing North Carolina school districts to do so.
Students will transition to in-person five days a week starting May 10.
“As a mom, I know students will be overjoyed to be back with teachers and friends in the classroom four days a week. Safe, in-person learning is what our students need,” said Board Chair Elyse Dashew. “I also know that all of this change is exhausting for the CMS family. The board has responded to ever-changing COVID guidelines for over a year now, including new rules announced by the state as recently as last week. We thank our staff, students, and families for your resilience. The light is at the end of the tunnel.”
CMS Deputy Superintendent Matt Hayes laid out the proposed plan.
The plan is for CMS students to shift to in-person learning on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesdays will be full remote days.
This would begin on Monday, April 12. Beginning May 10 through the end of the year, CMS would switch to in-person instruction five days a week.
“This year has been unlike any other year,” said Winston. “But bringing students back into the classroom for in-person instruction is an important milestone in our effort to return to some kind of normalcy. We know that in-person instruction is most effective for our students.”
Beginning March 24, families will have the option to choose from full remote academy as an alternative option. Families will also have the option to move from full remote academy to Plan A in-person instruction.
Many parents told WBTV they are in favor of any changes that make going to school feel more normal for their kids.
“Anything that gets people feeling comfortable for kids to go back to school, I think is important,” said CMS parent Jesse Posey. “At some point, I think some guidance is arbitrary. But if it makes some people feel more comfortable, that definitely all for it.”
Communication to CMS staff, families, and students will be shared immediately following action adopted by the Board
Currently, CMS has all elementary school students receiving in-person learning four days a week from March 22 until May 11. Wednesday is a remote-learning day for all students.
Middle school and high school students had previously been placed into two groups of in-person learning for two days a week until May 11.
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 a specific criteria met.
CDC guidance changed on Friday now recommending that students only need 3 feet of social distance instead of 6 feet to keep the transmission of COVID-19 low in schools.
This CDC guidance applies to classrooms, allowing for more students to be in each room. CDC leadership says this change in guidance isn’t just safe, but also helps aid reopening schools.
The CDC still recommends 6 feet of social distance anytime a mask has to be taken off, like at lunch. They also recommend 6 feet of social distance in large common rooms, like assemblies. And to distance at sporting events or practices where there might be loud talking, cheering or singing.
The CDC says teachers and adult staff should remain 6 feet apart between each other and other students.
The Board also voted to keep 82 ASEP sites operational through the end of the year, rather than closing many of them as announced earlier this year. Keeping the centers open is possible due to increased demand and enrollment. ASEP is self-contained financially, using fees from families to operate.