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CMS expands virtual school to K-2 students with medical, health conditions

The Board of Education voted unanimously in favor of the expansion at Tuesday night’s meeting.
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 10:20 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Younger students will now have the option to enroll in Charlotte-Mecklenburg School’s virtual school program.

The Board of Education voted unanimously in favor of the expansion at Tuesday night’s meeting.

The change is part of a plan that must be submitted to the Department of Public Instruction by Oct. 1.

“We have heard from parents of younger students who are medically fragile,” said Elyse Dashew, Board chair. “We are glad that CMS can offer students this expanded educational choice.”

“I do think this is an appropriate way to balance safety and learning and I’m glad we were able to offer this option,” said Board Member Margaret Marshall.

According to CMS, once a student has enrolled in the virtual magnet, the student will continue there for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year. The initial window for enrollment opens Oct. 4 and closes Oct. 10. Students accepted during this initial window will start their enrollment Nov. 1. Applications submitted and approved after the initial window will be enrolled on a rolling basis after Nov. 1.

Prior to Tuesday’s vote, the virtual school was only available for students in grades 3-12 with a medical or health condition.

Last month, school leaders said the virtual schools would not be expanding to K-2 students due to the curriculum.

“Our K-2 instruction is very much performance instruction it requires many of our students to be in small groups. It requires them to have various manipulatives and we do not have curriculum content right now at this point in time,” said Matt Hayes the Deputy Superintendent of Academics.

Parent Stacy Staggs says this decision is long overdue.

“It’s better late than never. It would’ve been great if this was an option at the beginning of the school year,” Staggs said.

Her twin daughters are in second grade and both have complex medical conditions. CMS’ hospital homebound program as a safety precaution after initially being told the virtual school wouldn’t expand to K-2.

“I’m desperate to remain attached to CMS curriculum and have access to that information,” Satggs said.

Member at Large Jennifer De La Jara says multiple families expressed their desire for this option during the summer - some of whom left the school system.

(Jennifer De La Jara, Member At Large)

“I do think that instead of having students disenroll now re-enroll that we could’ve done a better job. I’m only saying that because I want people who are hearing this, principals, whoever to make sure that people are communicating to the right people to get the right information so we can make the best decision in advance and not be reactive but maybe a bit more proactive.”

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