• BACK TO SCHOOL 2018: What you need to know for the first day


    [CLICK HERE to download the free WSOC-TV news app]


    [BACK TO SCHOOL PHOTOS: Viewer pictures from first day of school]

    Monday marks the first day of school for 15 counties in the Channel 9 viewing area.

    Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Lincoln, Cleveland, Gaston, Union, Stanly, Cabarrus, Rowan, Anson, Richmond, Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Iredell, and Catawba counties.

    It's the first day of school for 15 counties in the Channel 9 viewing 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 on wsoctv.com for coverage to help you prepare for the first day back to class.

    [PHOTOS: Chopper 9 SkyZoom catches buses as they hit the road] 

    [BACK TO SCHOOL 2018]

    [YOU'VE GOT THIS! York Co. elementary students write inspiring words on bathroom walls]

    [Local school districts enact new safety protocols to keep students safe]

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

    Click the links below for detailed forecast outlooks for each county:

    [CLICK HERE to download the free WSOC-TV weather app]

    [WATCH: Interactive Radar]

    [CLICK to follow Meteorologist Keith Monday on Twitter for updates on Back to School weather]

    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.

    Several ongoing and new construction projects could impact your back to school commute. 

    Tuckaseegee Road closed between Wilkinson Boulevard and Westerwood Drive for realignment back in late July and is expected to last through Nov. 5.

    [BACK TO SCHOOL PHOTOS: Viewer pictures from first day of school]

    This will affect West Mecklenburg High, Tuckaseegee Elementary, and Wilson Middle. Motorists will have to use Wilkinson Boulevard and Little Rock Road as alternate routes until then. 


    An update on two ongoing projects that were connected to the Blue Line continue construction that closed both Sugar Creek Road and East 36th Street. 

    East Sugar Creek is closed between Greensboro Street and Northmore Street, which started on Oct. 19, 2015, and is scheduled to reopen in early October.

    East 36th Street closed between Davidson Street and North Tryon Street in June 2014, and is expected to reopen Sept. 30.

    Both closures will impact Highland students and the Sugar Creek closure could also impact those heading to Grainger High School.

    Another ongoing project that continues to cause problems in Plaza Midwood is the Hawthorne Lane bridge closure over Independence Boulevard that started in July 2017 for Gold Line construction.

    [CLICK to follow Traffic Team 9 on Twitter for minute-by-minute traffic updates] 

    Motorists are having to utilize East 7th Street and Central Avenues as the detour until the road is scheduled to reopen, which is late March 2019.

    This could impact those that have children that attend Elizabeth Elementary.

    Remember, it takes time for students, teachers, and parents to get acclimated to new routes and routines. Expect to see more police patrolling school zones for the first few weeks, and more buses on roads means traffic will be slower than usual.

    Commuters may need to adjust commute times especially during the initial launch of the 2018-2019 school year.

    Get to school and back home safely

    On the first day of school, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will launch 1,088 buses across the Charlotte area, taking students a total of 125,000 to and from school. 

    Parents can track their child's bus with the "Here Comes the Bus" app.

    [CLICK to download "Here Comes the Bus"]

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

    [Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Bell Schedules]

    CMS officials also said they are increasing security measures on personal, school, community and district levels.



    "We are improving existing safeguards and protections, adding new security measures, hiring additional safety officers, upgrading locks, doors, and fencing at schools, and improving safety plan," officials said in a media release. 


    • Over 147,000 students are enrolled
    • Three new schools are opening this year: Charlotte East Language Academy, Villa Heights Elementary School, and Wilson Middle School
    • 105 schools have been renovated and improved
    • CMS still looking to fill 30 teacher vacancies and 66 school bus drivers
    • 87 schools will have new boundaries or magnet school programs involving 3,700 students (2,100 in elementary school, 730 in middle school and 970 in high school)
    • 23,000 devices (laptops, iPads and others) added to ensure student access to technology

    Changes to bell schedules

    CMS officials said they are still looking to fill more than 50 school bus driver positions.

    Some bus drivers are working under different schedules this school year because changes were made to the bell schedules.

    This year, the majority of changes were only shifted by 15 minutes but there are some that were moved by more than an hour.

    Some bell schedules were altered because of changes made to school boundaries, impacting 40 schools.



    When CMS was discussing student reassignment, some parents said they were frustrated with the changes to the bell schedules. They said those changes would hurt them as they juggled work and daycare start times.

    CMS said the bell changes will hopefully minimize the impact to bus routes.

    Plan ahead for school meals with Nutrislice

    Download the Nutrislice app to your smartphone to get meal menus, nutrition, and allergy information. For parents who like to put a copy of the menu on the refrigerator, PDFs of weekly menus are also available.


    PRINTABLE POSTERS: Send us your Back to School photos

    The first day of school typically comes with the "First Day of School" photographs, and Channel 9 wants to see yours! 

    Send us your back to school photos using our PRINTABLE posters corresponding to your child's grade. 

    [CLICK HERE for instructions and to view our posters]

    Your photo will be added to a special album dedicated to the "First Day of School." 

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