CMS students head back to more in-person instruction Monday

Updated: Apr. 9, 2021 at 7:04 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) will welcome back more than 87,000 students to the classrooms Monday, April 12.

Elementary, middle, and high school students will return to in-person learning four days a week instead of two days a week. Harding University High School principal Eric Ward says he is prepared for the return.

“The last couple of days has been checking emails,” Ward said. “And making sure there’s not any last-minute changes or requests.”

Ward says he is expecting about 500 students to return back to Harding Monday morning. He also says roughly 1,600 students are on the attendance rolls at Harding. The principal also says about 30 more students have opted to come back to school since there has been an increase in in-person learning. He says with more students coming back to the school - there will be instructions.

“Social distancing is definitely still in place,” Ward said. “We have signs placed on all of the school. We have constant reminders for students about social distancing. We’ll make those announcements between classes and have teachers also make those announcements.”

The principal says he hopes all students who say they are going to return come back. He doesn’t want to lose track of any more students. He says so far about 150 Harding students are unaccounted for. He says the school has started a campaign to locate the students.

“We constantly get returned mail when we’re sending out information - as far as attendance notifications and other information about the school,” said Ward. “So I plea with parents if they’re moving or have moved or whatever the case may be - please update your information with the school.”

While Ward is ready for students to return, some CMS teachers are concerned. Jennifer Bourne has been a teacher for nearly 20 years. She says teachers are concerned about where students have been and who they have been with for Spring Break during a pandemic.

“Especially if we’re crossing state lines, because every state has different levels of precautions,” said Bourne.

Bourne is also concerned about having proper air ventilation inside the schools. She says she has talked to some teachers and they question the real reason for the return.

“I think the sentiment is we’re not really going back for instruction,” she said. “We’re going back to get ready for testing. And that just doesn’t feel like a good reason.”

Teachers also say they are getting overwhelmed by constantly teaching both students in person and remotely. They say with more students coming back to class - the struggle will continue to leave no child behind.

“I think that emotional kind of stress, knowing that you’re constantly having to choose one group over the other or it feels that way, makes it very difficult to have a very good day every day,” said Bourne.

CMS says students will be temperature checked and there will be enough PPE, facial coverings, and hand sanitizer for staff and students.

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