August 25, 2021
Dear CMS students, families and staff,
Welcome back to school! We are ready for a new year, and whether you are new or returning to the district, we are glad you chose to be part of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
I am very excited that everyone is returning to the classroom, where we know our students are best served by in-person teaching and learning. We continue to offer the best possible education for our students and are opening the year with new schools and new initiatives. I am optimistic about the year ahead and look forward to what we can accomplish together.
CMS now has a total of 180 schools. We have four new facilities, including the North Academy of World Languages and the South Academy of International Languages, which will increase student access to language immersion programs across the district. We have added South Pine Academy, a new elementary school in our Southwest Learning Community, and a state-of-the-art replacement school for Briarwood Academy.
We also have expanded our virtual options to meet the demand for a full-remote learning model. In addition to our virtual high school, the district now offers a virtual elementary school for grades 3-5 and a virtual middle school for grades 6-8.
As always, the safety of our students and staff is our first priority. Please be assured that we are taking every precaution necessary to ensure a healthy, safe learning environment. CMS is requiring all staff, students and visitors to wear face coverings indoors, and we continue to encourage best practices, such as frequent handwashing and cleaning. We strongly urge everyone to become vaccinated to protect our school community against the transmission of COVID-19 or severe illness due to the virus.
Please be aware that more than 900 buses are transporting students and adding to weekday traffic flow. We ask that drivers be aware of students at bus stops and follow all traffic regulations to ensure their safety. Masks are required on all CMS school buses. There are no restrictions on seating capacity this year, and buses continue to be fully sanitized. The Here Comes the Bus app is available to help our families track their buses, but stop times may vary during the first few weeks of school. We ask for your patience with any delays that may occur.
I also want to share that School Nutrition Services will be providing free breakfast and lunch to all students for the entire school year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture granted a waiver for this program, which applies to all students, regardless of their free or reduced meal status. You can find more information about our meal programs and other important topics by visiting our back-to-school page.
Our entire CMS staff has done an incredible job preparing for the opening of schools, and I am grateful for their service and for the support from our community. It is a privilege to educate the students of Mecklenburg County, and I look forward to a great year ahead.