Back to School

BACK TO SCHOOL 2022: What you need to know for the first day

CHARLOTTE — Believe it or not, it’s almost time to head back to school!

Wednesday, Aug. 10, marked the first day of school for the students in Channel 9′s viewing area.

It’s time to head back to school in the Charlotte area! Our team coverage has students and parents covered on all things “Back to School,” on Eyewitness News.

Eyewitness News has dedicated a special section for coverage to help you prepare for the first day back to class.


Meteorologist Keith Monday will be in Severe Weather Center 9, tracking any weather that could impact your drive to school, bus stop drop-offs and after-school pick-ups.

[WATCH: Interactive Radar]

Know before you go: Traffic headaches

As CMS welcomes back its more than 140,000 students and 18,000 staff members across 180 schools, you’re sure to be sharing the road with lots of extra folks come Monday. Not to mention the dozen other districts that start school the same day.

If you are concerned about the drive to school, Traffic Team 9 will have traffic updates on Eyewitness News Daybreak every 10 minutes, starting at 4:30 a.m.

A few ongoing construction projects near area schools could make traffic impacts even worse.

Traffic Team 9′s Mark Taylor walked through what you should be aware of before hitting the road.

Huntersville Concord Road has been closed since July as crews replace water, sewer and stormwater lines between Main Street and Highway 115.

Work was scheduled to wrap up by Aug. 25, but the city now says it won’t be done until at least Sept. 9 due to underground utility conflicts and bad weather. Families at area schools including nearby Huntersville Elementary students will most certainly be affected.

Rocky River Road is still closed in front of Newell Elementary School in northeast Charlotte for a streetscape project. Construction began in June and was suppose to wrap up by Aug. 18.

After several attempts to get a new completion date from Charlotte DOT without a response, Traffic Team 9 reached out to CMS who didn’t seem concerned about the construction.

“We are not aware of any major impact that project would have on our buses or carpool when school opens Monday,” a spokesperson said. “Our bus drivers are practicing routes this week, so if conflicts arise there, they will let us know.”

In Union County, roundabout construction has closed the intersections of Lancaster Highway south of Rocky River and Parkwood Road since June. NCDOT says it will be after Labor Day before the road reopens.

Union County Schools’ buses heading to Parkwood middle and high schools will continue using a detour that has been in place since early summer.

A new high school in Lake Wylie is sure to add more time to the drive of commuters in the area. Palisades High School sits next door to Palisades Park Elementary, so Highway 49 is expected to be even more congested across the Buster Boyd Bridge for the foreseeable future.

CMS says it usually takes time for everyone to reacclimate to the school routine. They expect it to be a week or so after Labor Day before the “new normal” traffic patterns set in.

Traffic Team 9′s Mark Taylor will be LIVE Monday morning from 4:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Channel 9 and TV64 getting you through any traffic issues that arise.

Get to school and back home safely

On the first day of school, CMS will launch more than a thousand buses across the Charlotte area, taking hundreds of thousands of students to and from school.

Parents can track their child’s bus with the “Here Comes the Bus” app.

School officials say parents should have their child at their assigned bus stop at least 10 minutes before the scheduled stop time.

As buses return to the road and kids are back on campus, its important to remember the laws that also go into effect.

“It is not uncommon for motorist to drive recklessly when approaching a school bus,” CMS says on its website. “When you see the amber lights on a school bus, that means the motorist should start slowing down. The bus driver is activating the amber lights to give the motorist notice that they are getting ready to activate the red lights and stop. Driving recklessly to get around a school bus that is driving safely, not only endangers the motorist, but also the children on the school bus.”


When students return to the classroom, posted speed limits in school zones also are back in play. Fines for speeding in a school zone can cost hundreds of dollars, not to mention the fee added to your car insurance bill.

Generally, CMS says the school zone speed limits are in effect a half-hour prior to the start of the school day, and again for a half-hour in the afternoon after the students have been dismissed for the day.


CMS student safety

Beginning this school year, all CMS high school, middle schools and K-8 schools in the district will have weapon detectors, Interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh announced in July.

Weapon detectors were added in most 21 CMS high schools during the last school year. A spokesperson for the district did not give an exact date of when the machines will be installed, but said it would happen sometime in the fall of the 2022 to 2023 school year.

“This effort demonstrates our commitment to providing a secure school environment where students can thrive academically, socially and emotionally,” Hattabaugh said in a statement.

The move comes after 31 guns were found on the campuses of CMS schools last year, according to CMS data. Four of the guns were found at middle schools.

Data from the state of North Carolina collected by our partners at the Charlotte Observer shows that Mecklenburg County has led the state for the most guns found over the past 11 years. The district accounts for 23% of the guns found at schools in the state, according to the data.

“The installation of the Evolv body scanners in our high schools has proven to be effective in deterring weapons in our schools in the second semester,” Hattabaugh’s statement said. “We will continue the rollout of scanners to the remaining CMS high schools as well as a plan to reach our middle and K-8 schools.”

The district also conducts random safety screenings on the campuses of all its schools as part of its vigilance measures.

Last winter, the CMS introduced the “Say Something Anonymous Reporting System” in middle and high schools to help identify student’s at-risk of hurting themselves or others.

Students can submit a tip through the online “Say Something” system by visiting The free app is available for download from the App Store and Google Play Store, and students can submit tips through the hotline by calling 1-844-5-SAYNOW.

CMS has a similar anonymous platform to report incidents of bullying.

(WATCH BELOW: Tips to score savings on back-to-school supplies)

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