Media Room
Hurricane Florence

** Please see below for a special message from the CMS Exceptional Children’s Parent Advisory Council.

Current CMS Update; September 19, 2018 at 3:35pm EST

CMS waiving September 13th, 14th and 17th for students and staff

The 19,000 employees of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are dedicated to helping every student achieve. Our community’s support for all CMS team members as the severe impacts of Hurricane Florence continue is vital to maintaining focus on teaching and learning in our schools.

After discussion with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education leadership, review by the Board’s General Counsel, and based on the Superintendent’s authority under current Board policy ICA School Calendar, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is waiving September 13th, 14th and 17thas school and or/work days for students and staff.

Policy ICA states that “…the Superintendent is authorized to waive up to four instructional days each year in the event schools are closed to students because of severe weather or other emergency conditions.”

This decision means that any exempt employee who took leave of any sort for 9/13, 9/14 and/or 9/17 will have that leave credited back to their leave balance.

Non-exempt employees will be provided the opportunity to earn income lost during this current pay period within a subsequent pay period and on a previously calendared teacher work day. Those teacher work days include October 31, December 19, January 2, January 22, February 18, March 29 and June 10, 11, 12. Non-exempt employees will work with their building leader or department manager to schedule up to three days of lost earnings.

Previous CMS Update; September 17, 2018 at 3:00pm EST

CMS to open on normal schedule Tuesday, Sept. 18*

CMS schools, offices, facilities, transportation and operations will open and run on a normal schedule for all students and staff on Tuesday, Sept. 18. CMS staff, outside contractors and Duke Energy specialists are repairing damages and cleaning up on various campuses to ensure safety of students and staff. Families will be updated on a school-by-school basis as needed on the progress of work.

Wednesday, Sept. 19 will remain a Teacher Workday as scheduled. September 19 is not a make-up day option on the approved CMS 2018-2019 calendar.

At this time, no make-up days are announced for school days missed due to Hurricane Florence. Possible make-up days are Dec. 19, Jan. 2, Jan. 22, Feb. 18, March 29, June 10, June 11 and June 12 following the CMS 2018-2019 calendar approved on June 17, 2017. CMS is exploring additional school make-up day options with state leaders in light of the enormous impact of Hurricane Florence across North Carolina. The district will quickly communicate final make-up day decisions when updates are available.

The Red Cross will relocate emergency shelters from East Mecklenburg, West Mecklenburg, North Mecklenburg, South Mecklenburg and Ardrey Kell high schools to Mecklenburg County Parks & Recreation facilities by the end of day Monday, Sept. 17.

CMS has worked closely with our City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County partners as well as local and state safety, emergency and law enforcement experts to make these decisions.

Our community bonds grow stronger during challenging times. The district appreciates the cooperation of everyone in Charlotte-Mecklenburg as we collaborated during this emergency event. CMS extends deep condolences to our neighbors and fellow community members who have suffered tragic losses during Hurricane Florence.

*Wednesday, September 19th, 2018, remains a teacher workday.

Previous CMS Hurricane Florence Update; September 17, 2018 at 8:05am EST

CMS Schools Closed on Monday, September 17 for All Students and Staff

All CMS schools are closed for students and staff on Monday, September 17. The district’s goals are to put safety first for everyone, to resume teaching and learning as soon as possible, and to share announcements for remaining days this week quickly to help families, students and staff plan. Today is a Code C day for CMS employees.

Schools and transportation routes are being evaluated by CMS, emergency management, safety and law enforcement experts. Red Cross shelters remain open on several CMS campuses. 

The district will release information on school opening or closing through direct phone calls to all CMS families in English and Spanish, through CMS social media, the CMS website and mobile app, and through outreach to media partners in the area.

CMS is proud to work alongside community members together with local, state and national agencies and organizations as the impacts of Hurricane Florence are evaluated.

Previous CMS Hurricane Florence Update; September 14, 2018 at 11:30am EST

CMS Schools Closed on Monday, September 17 for All Students and Staff

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will be closed for students and staff on Monday, September 17 to protect the safety of students, staff and community members due to impacts of Hurricane Florence.

All CMS athletic practices, games and events are cancelled through Monday, September 17. Extracurricular activities and field trips scheduled through September 17 are cancelled. Community use of schools events and before school and after school enrichment programs (ASEP) are also cancelled through Monday.

Make-up days will be designated at a later time. Monday, September 17 is designated Code C for CMS employees.

Our community remains in a declared official state of emergency by state and local leaders. Experts advise that the full impact of Hurricane Florence in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region will be most severe on Sunday, September 16 into Monday, September 17 and may include severe flooding, widespread power outages, downed trees, road closures and limited access to school buildings and facilities. Red Cross officials advise that shelters now open on CMS campuses will remain open as needed to meet needs of evacuees.

CMS understands the wide impact of closing schools on families, students, staff and the community. The district’s first priority is to help keep everyone safe. This decision was made after consulting with weather, emergency preparedness and law enforcement experts and in coordination with City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County leaders.

CMS will continue to update families, students, staff and the community through Connect phone call messages in English and Spanish, CMS website, CMS social media on Facebook and Twitter, e-mails and the CMS mobile app.

Further preparation information and emergency alerts are
available at and

Text CHARMECK to 888777 for #HurricanceFlorence text updates.

CMS Update; September 14, 2018 at 12:45pm EST

CMS Support for Exceptional Children (EC) During Severe Weather

CMS Parents/Caregivers,  

As the Chair for the CMS Exceptional Children’s Parent Advisory Council, I would like everyone to know the safety of our students is always our top priority whether in school or at home.  Currently, we are asking, please adhere to all recommendations from our state leaders on how to keep you and your family safe.

Severe weather can sometimes affect autistic and or medically fragile children. It can heighten their emotions, actions and behaviors. Developing storms can cause children to become very nervous and anxious, especially when there are dark clouds, thunder, lightning, and wind.  In extreme weather conditions such as Hurricane Florence, extra precautions need to be taken to accommodate special needs children.

Here are some tips or items to help you and your exceptional child weather this storm:

  1. ID card/bracelet - Be sure to have some type of identification on your child that identifies their special need, (i.e. nonverbal/Autism, medically fragile, epilepsy, hearing disability, etc). This will help first responders in the event of an emergency.

  2. "Go Bag" - Create a waterproof, "To Go Bag" in the event you must evacuate in a hurry. Here are some suggestions for your bag.

  3. Exceptional child safety card – it is ideal to let emergency responders know as much about your child as possible – especially when it comes to Autism. Is your child verbal? How do they best communicate? Are there any other medical issues? What medications/supplements are they on? Allergies? Typical behaviors? Fears? 

  4. Photos of family members – in case there is any chance you are separated from your child, each family member having family photos may be the quickest way to reunite.

  5. Medications and/or supplements - it’s also a good idea to list the names and numbers of your child’s doctor and all medications.

  6. Sensory and comfort items - Pack items that keep your child relax and calm such as noise canceling headphones, compression blanket, battery-operated electronic pad/game, fidget toys, books, puzzles, etc.

  7. Special foods, snacks and water

  8. Portable oxygen or finger pulse oximeter

  9. Port/IV supplies - IV tubing, saline flushes, syringes or cleaning kit.

  10. Enteral supplies - Formula, feed bags, pump, flush, or G-tube extensions. 
  11. Emergency calls - You can receive continuing information on Hurricane Florence by dialing 211

*** Please ONLY call 911 in the event of an emergency. ***

Please have a "what if" conversation with your child.  Many autistic children are very routine oriented and do not like to deviate from their schedule, doing so can cause extreme anxiety. Talk to your child about what your family will do in the event of an emergency and what to expect. Do a practice run if needed so that your child will not feel overwhelmed if an emergency or evacuation event occurs.

If you have any questions or concerns you can contact, Abby Childers, (EC PAC Chair) or Jackie Wood, (Committee Chair for Community Awareness) at         

Remember to be prepared and stay safe! 

Abby Childers
CMS Exceptional Children’s Parent Advisory Chair
Phone:  704-996-5405

PREVIOUS UPDATE: CMS Hurricane Florence Update September 12, 2018

CMS Schools Closed on Thursday, September 13 and Friday, September 14

CMS families, staff, students, partners and community members, 

Together, we can be the neighbors we teach our students to be. 

As Hurricane Florence draws closer, CMS schools will be closed for students and staff on Thursday, September 13 and Friday, September 14 to protect the safety of students, staff, families and community members. 

All CMS athletic practices, games and events are cancelled for Thursday (9/13), Friday (9/14) and Saturday (9/15). Extracurricular activities and field trips scheduled for September 13 or September 14 are cancelled. Before school and after school enrichment programs (ASEP) are cancelled. 

Make-up days will be designated a later time. These days are designated Code C for CMS employees. 

A number of factors and expert guidance from education, weather, emergency preparedness and law enforcement experts informed this decision. 

1. Hurricane Florence is dangerous, unpredictable and safety is the priority. Because Hurricane Florence is a very powerful and dangerous storm affecting our entire state, a state of emergency has been declared across North Carolina. Weather and emergency planning experts have advised everyone to prepare for widespread impacts within the next 3-5 days. 

2. Hurricane Florence has forced evacuations to emergency shelters and we must consider safety in new ways. CMS is proud to serve our state and region by opening several CMS school campuses as emergency shelters led by the Red Cross in partnership with other agencies. Emergency shelters open today for evacuees at CMS high school campuses including East Mecklenburg, South Mecklenburg, North Mecklenburg, Olympic and Ardrey Kell. Emergency shelters at additional schools may be opened. 

These emergency shelters are staffed and provisioned by the Red Cross with support from partner agencies to meet shelter, medical, nutrition, comfort, safety and security needs. CMPD and CMS-PD are supporting shelters with officers, equipment and communications assistance. 

CMS believes that supporting our neighbors in need is the right thing to do for our state, community and people affected by Hurricane Florence. With safety as a priority, the district considered security, maintenance, traffic and staffing needs at shelters as a part of the decision-making process. Very heavy traffic during evacuations is difficult to predict and could significantly impact and delay CMS transportation and other operations. 

3. Hurricane Florence is predicted to have catastrophic impact in the Carolinas. A weather system and emergency of this magnitude require CMS to consider a variety of factors in addition to local weather conditions and direct impacts in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Many of CMS’ 19,000 employees live in surrounding and more rural counties. CMS teachers and staff, and over 147,000 student families, have other family members, loved ones and pets now being evacuated from coastal Carolina areas. 

4. Hurricane Florence challenges effective teaching and learning. Every day is important in education. Uncertainty about weather, transportation, housing, access to power, safety and security are significant distractions to teaching and learning. Make-up days will be designated a later time. 

CMS will continue to update families, students, staff and the community through Connect phone call messages in English and Spanish, CMS website, CMS social media on Facebook and Twitter, e-mails and the CMS mobile app. 

All North Carolina residents are advised by authorities to prepare for impacts of Hurricane Florence. CMS encourages families to stay connected throughout this declared emergency and prepare with critical contact information, fully fueled vehicles, stored water, non-perishable food, prescriptions, flashlights, fresh batteries, radios and pet supplies at home. Special care should be given to young children, the elderly and those who are without a permanent home. Further preparation information and sign-up for emergency alerts are available at charmeckalerts.organd 

Thank you for your support of education, our schools and the community.