Where are they?: CMS searches for answers as roughly 13K students miss first week of Camp CMS

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 4:30 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Camp CMS administrators are trying to find out why roughly 13,000 students who enrolled in the summer-enrichment program haven’t attended camp in its first week.

In the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools board meeting Tuesday night, Camp CMS leaders updated the board on Camp CMS progress. More than 32,000 students enrolled in the summer program. The state mandated schools offer a summer program to make up for COVID-19 learning loss. Camp CMS runs Monday through Thursday for 6 weeks.

In the board meeting, Camp CMS leaders say the average daily attendance over the first four days of camp was roughly 19,000 students. With more than 32,000 students enrolled that means roughly 13,000 students who are enrolled in the camp are not showing up.

Under state law, CMS cannot make attendance mandatory. However, school leaders are still trying to find out why there are so many absences.

“Some have reported their child enrolled in a different program for the summer,” A CMS leader said in the board meeting. “Others have said that their child has not been in Charlotte for the summer.”

On Facebook, several parents complained of issues involving transportation. According to CMS, there are roughly 24,000 students assigned to buses for Camp CMS.

Quinn Barnette says she decided to drive her incoming first grader to Camp CMS after her assigned bus was late.

“The first day with the buses, her bus was an hour late in the afternoon. And I was like oh no!,” Barnette said.

WBTV asked CMS if the ‘Here Comes the Bus’ app is operational for Camp CMS. A spokesperson told WBTV it is not being used for Camp CMS.

“The functionality was not possible with students going to different schools other than their regular school year assigned school,” CMS Media Relations Specialist Brian Hacker said via email.

In Tuesday night’s school board meeting, CMS Director of Support Services Shawna Turner said the school ended the first week with a 94% on-time arrival. She says it will improve as the summer goes on.

Other parents told WBTV they decided to unenroll or are not having their child attend Camp CMS because it interferes with summer vacations and the hours are too long for summer.

“It’s kind of long, but I’m okay with that because I know she’s getting what she needs,” Barnette said of her daughter, Savannah, enrolled in Camp CMS. “And it’s only until July 30th. So, then we’ll have our fun in August.”

Barnette says her daughter has enjoyed Camp CMS so far. Especially since her first year in school was done virtually.

“I knew that her attending in the summer would help her get ready for 1st grade since we didn’t get a chance to actually have kindergarten in the classroom,” Barnette said.

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