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‘We must remain vigilant:’ CMS discusses Back to Schools Plans including COVID-19 protocols

Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 11:39 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The start of the school year is less than two weeks away for over 140,000 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students.

The Board of Education reviewed a Back to School presentation at Tuesday night’s meeting.

The presentation included school nutrition, Camp CMS objectives, school security, and COVID-19.

CMS is requiring masks for all students, staff, and visitors regardless of vaccination status.

The superintendent said they have not had any discussion about requiring the vaccine for staff.

Masks are required inside school buildings, and indoor athletic and extracurricular activities.

“We must remain vigilant as the Delta Variant had led to increases in covid cases and hospitalizations and rates not seen since the start of this calendar year,” said Superintendent Earnest Winston.

Some speakers at Tuesday night’s meeting say they know of children battling the long-term effects of COVID-19. Those parents say they’re grateful the district is requiring masks.

“I personally know children and work with children that were athletes and are now using walkers - that had no underlying conditions,” said speaker Megan Carmilani.

Others, however, say they believe they should have a choice in the matter and think requiring masks is unacceptable.

“Mandatory masking of our children is vehemently wrong and unconstitutional. We will not tolerate it,” said speaker Keith Peiffer.

CMS released an updated mask exemption form which must be signed by a medical provider. Exemptions include medical, behavioral, or developmental reasons.

According to the CMS Metrics Dashboard COVID-19 report from July 31-August 6, 15 students tested positive for COVID-19 out of 18,900 students attending in person.

In addition, 8 staff members tested positive out of 19,106 employees.

The district is following guidance in the North Carolina Strong Schools Public Health Toolkit. According to those guidelines in the toolkit, students who test positive must quarantine for 10 days, but students who are in close contact don’t have to quarantine if they’re wearing a mask and don’t have symptoms.

CMS says they will be having on-site vaccine clinics during open houses and at the CMS Education Center. CMS also has a virtual school for children in grades 3-12 but this is not like Plan C from last year’s reopening plans where remote learning was available for all students.

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