‘Set us up to succeed’: CMS mom pushes for virtual learning option for youngest students

CHARLOTTE — Courtney Chanthaboury has a full household of CMS students, with a rising 9th grader, 7th grader, 3rd grader, 1st grader and kindergartener.

Last school year, they were enrolled in the full remote academy. This coming year, she’s still figuring out what to do with her youngest kids.

CMS is offering a virtual learning option for grades 3-12. Chanthaboury said she, her husband, and her oldest children are vaccinated, but her young ones aren’t yet eligible.

“I 100% believe that the children should be in-person learning, however, I don’t think it’s safe right now without them having that vaccine, and I think with only grades 3-12 able to go to online school does not make sense. So my two youngest who are not eligible to receive the vaccine are required to go in-person.”

Chanthaboury also said she and some of her kids are immunocompromised.

“There are a lot of variables there that I’m not comfortable with and once we can get that vaccine I really would like my children to be back in the classroom, but that doesn’t look like it’s happening anytime soon,” she said. “So we’re willing to do one more year of virtual learning and I’m hoping this sparks a conversation with the CMS board.”

She feels the district should reconsider offering a remote option to all students.

“If that’s not an option, I will have to withdraw my youngest two and I would have to look for another online platform -- hopefully with a teacher -- that can assist and really I don’t want to have to homeschool. I don’t think I should have to do that as a taxpayer. I’m already paying for the public school system, I should have that access just like everybody else,” she said.

A CMS district rep said virtual instruction for grades PreK-2 may be added in future years, telling Channel 9 the district feels those grades are foundational years that are best suited for in-person learning.

“I cannot put the safety or health of my children at risk. I agree that these are foundational times but set us up to succeed so I don’t have to pull my children out,” Chanthaboury said.

Currently, there is no state requirement for districts to offer a virtual option, and districts around the area are offering different options. For example, unless it’s a state mandate, Union County Public Schools will continue just with their high school virtual academy. Gaston County has a virtual academy for grades K-12.

(WATCH BELOW: CMS parents voice concerns as district works through reassignment plans)