CHARLOTTE, NC — Students of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will remain in remote learning for an additional month, school board officials decided Thursday in an emergency meeting.
The decision comes days before students were set to return to classrooms following winter break.
The decision was made following a recent directive issued by Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris, urging schools and jobs remain virtual where possible in the coming weeks in order to combat rising COVID cases in the county, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education said.
“None of us wants to delay our students’ return to classrooms,” Board Chair Elyse Dashew said. “But the metrics do not support a safe return right now. We have considered the directive issued by [Harris] in making this decision, but the decision must be — and has been — made by us, the elected members of the Board of Education.”
Under the remote learning plan approved Jan. 14, CMS students will return to classes in two phases:
Pre-K, elementary, K-8 and students with disabilities who have been identified through an IEP process to receive in-person services will return to class on Feb. 15.
Students in traditional middle and high schools will return to in-person instruction on Feb. 22.
As of Thursday, there were more than Mecklenburg County reported more than 74,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 650 COVID-19 deaths. About 15 percent of those tested for coronavirus in the county were positive, according to North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
North Carolina's tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose by 9,853 Thursday, increasing the number of known cases in the state to 650,926.