Back to School

BACK TO SCHOOL 2023: What you need to know for the first day

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

Thousands of students in the Channel 9 viewing area are back in school.

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.

[WATCH: Interactive Radar]

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.

Get to school and back home safely

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, it’s important to remember the laws that also go into effect.

“It is not uncommon for motoristS to drive recklessly when approaching a school bus,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools 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.

The traffic switch will be flipped on Aug. 28 as more than 158,000 CMS students and staff members head back to the classroom. CMS wants to remind drivers that passing a stopped school bus is illegal and will lead to consequences, including:

  • Five points on your license
  • A fine of $200
  • Significant insurance increase

CMS says it takes time for drivers and students alike to get acclimated to the new schedules. The “new normal” traffic pattern should settle in after Labor Day, CMS expects.

CMS: Teacher vacancies, new law, express stops

Even though school began for CMS students, the district has hundreds of job openings. One board member did say 200 teachers are in the pipeline.

The district has 516 teacher vacancies, which is more than this time last year. The district also needs 34 bus drivers and 156 cafeteria staff.

With a new law on the books, CMS leaders are putting new protocols into action.

CMS is aligning with the new “Parent’s Bill of Rights,” which means parents must “opt-in” for their kids to participate in reproductive health and safety education. They will also be able to review library and media center materials.

Supporters of the new law say it will give parents the right to know what’s happening in their child’s school and education. Those against the new law said those rights are already in place.

In addition, the district is launching express stops, which will eliminate door-to-door bus service for magnet school students.



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

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