The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education voted Nov. 10 to revise the timeline for middle school students to return to in-person instruction. The new timeline delays until after winter break the return for all students in grades six through eight in traditional middle schools for in-person instruction, with one exception: Sixth- through eighth-graders in K-8 schools will return Nov. 30, instead of Nov. 23.
The change was necessary because more than 100 of the district's bus drivers have elected to use leave through Dec. 31, as permitted under the federal FFCRA (Families First Coronavirus Response Act). This has created a shortage of bus drivers, making it impossible to observe the social-distancing requirements for school buses set by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.
"We know this is difficult for families who were planning on sending their middle schoolers back before winter break," said Board Chairperson Elyse Dashew. "But we remain committed to ensuring the health and safety of our students as they travel to and from school, as well as in the classroom. Social distancing on our school buses is essential to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Therefore, the Board felt this change was necessary."
Under the new timeline approved by the Board, students in grades six through eight who attend a K-8 school will rotate between in-person instruction and remote learning, with half of those students attending school Monday and Tuesday and the other half Thursday and Friday. Both groups will receive remote instruction on Wednesday. This aligns the schedules of the K-8 middle school students with the schedules of the K-5 elementary students.
The full plan for returning to in-person instruction for students in grades six through eight can be found here.
During the Board meeting, CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston presented some additional district action items related to the return to in-person instruction. The first is a change to the district's timeline for families to transfer students into or out of the Full Remote Academy.
Requests for pre-K through 12th grade students to switch between in-person learning and the Full Remote Academy (FRA) for second semester will continue to be collected at the school level. CMS families who wish to transfer into in-person instruction from the FRA or who wish to enroll students currently assigned to in-person learning to the FRA for the second semester must notify their school in writing by Nov. 30.
For families who have already been notified by their school of the school's process for collecting this information, please follow the process provided by the school.
In addition, families must inform the
district about students’ transportation needs for the second semester, which
begins Jan. 5. An enrollment form is posted on the CMS website and school
websites here. Families will need their student ID number to complete the
transportation survey. The transportation choice will last through the end of the second semester. CMS needs to know the transportation needs for all students - pre-K through 12th grade - whose families intend for them to attend school in-person during the second semester
A specific note for current in-person, pre-K through fifth-grade learners: