CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Parents are praising Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District's unprecedented decision to only close select schools impacted by the winter storm, instead of the entire district Tuesday.
CMS officials said a make-up day for CMS school closures for Monday, Dec. 10 has been waived by the superintendent.
CMS make-up days:
- Jan. 22, 2019 will be a make-up day only for schools closed on Dec. 11, except Butler High School.
- CMS said Butler High School's make-up day will be announced at a later date and on this day, the Butler community will have a shared campus teach-in and other events to lift up the strength of the Butler community.
- Feb. 18 is a make-up day for all CMS schools, students and staff for schools closed on Oct. 11 due to Hurricane Michael.
- March 29 is the make-up day for all CMS schools, students and staff for close on Oct. 12 due to impacts of Hurricane Michael.
SCHOOLS WITH JAN. 22, 2019 MAKE-UP DAY:
Bailey Middle School
Barnette Elementary School
Blythe Elementary School
Bradley Middle School
Cornelius Elementary School
Croft Elementary School
David Cox Elementary School
Davidson Elementary School
Early Colleges at UNCC: Engineering and Teaching
Grand Oak Elementary School
Highland Creek Elementary School
Hopewell High School
Hornets Nest Elementary School
Hough High School
Huntersville Elementary School
Independence High School
J.M. Alexander Middle School
J.V. Washam Elementary School
Lebanon Road Elementary School
Long Creek Elementary School
Mallard Creek Elementary School
Mallard Creek High School
Northeast Middle School
North Mecklenburg High School
Northwest School of the Arts
Parkside Elementary School
Performance Learning Center
Phillip O. Berry
Piedmont Middle School IB
Ridge Road Middle School
Stoney Creek Elementary School
Torrence Creek Elementary School
Trillium Springs Montessori
Waddell Language Academy
The district was initially going to operate on a two-hour delay, but parents immediately expressed their concerns about the dangerous conditions still lingering in the northern part of the county.
"It was still pretty icy, the schools parking lots were still unplowed," said parent Tana.
Board member Rhonda Cheek told Channel 9 she shared the parents' concerns with Superintendent Clayton Wilcox and asked him to reconsider regional closings.
"Dr. Wilcox has talked about that since he started, we have to look at each school individually, we have to look at each area individually," said Cheek.
After careful consideration, CMS made the late-night decision to keep 35 schools closed Tuesday.
Schools officials said the decision was because the weather impacts in the northern parts of the districts could endanger safety and include potentially hazardous travel and power outages for some in the community.
"When we have a ton of snow and the south has only seen a trace it makes sense for those kids to still go to school and for us to work on an alternative schedule," said Tana.
This is the first time CMS has kept some of the district open, while closing several other schools.
"This shows that we made some progress," said Cheek.
Over the years, parents have complained about keeping the whole district closed when just certain parts of the county were experiencing inclement weather and bad road conditions.
CMS said the decision to close some, but not all schools doesn't reflect implementation of an ongoing policy. Cheek told Channel 9's education reporter Elsa Gillis that it is an option that the district will continue to tweak.
All CMS schools will be open and operating on a normal schedule Wednesday.
CMS STATEMENT ON TUESDAY SCHOOL CLOSURES:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools appreciates the cooperation of the entire community as winter weather created hazardous conditions and caused widespread power outages all over Mecklenburg County in recent days.
With safety for students and staff as a priority, CMS closed select schools in three categories for Tuesday, December 11:
1) Home schools in hazardous areas – home schools located within icy and hazardous areas in northern Mecklenburg County.
2) Magnet schools with students traveling from hazardous areas – magnet schools draw students living in icy and hazardous areas of northern Mecklenburg County.
3) Schools without power - schools where power could not be restored in time to ensure safety, heating and lighting.
This decision was made after conditions in many neighborhoods and on roads around northern Mecklenburg County grew worse in the late afternoon on Monday or did not improve as much as hoped for to ensure safe travel for CMS buses and students and families driving to their assigned home or magnet schools. Crews worked through the night to restore power outages in some schools.
Last night’s decision does not reflect implementation of an ongoing policy but was an option exercised with safety as a priority and in response to deteriorating conditions, input from families and staff, and guidance from safety experts and law enforcement.
CMS continues to study open and close policies, practices and procedures for hazardous weather impacts. Safety will remain the priority. The district will update the community as discussions continue and will advise as soon as possible on any impacts as we continue to move through the winter months ahead.
Channel 9 spoke with a family from Huntersville, who said they understand CMS has a lot to consider when it comes to closing or opening schools.
"The roads are in terrible condition, so I’m glad that the kids stayed home,” said parent Kristi Farrice. “My daughter goes to school in the University area in Charlotte, so I don’t even know how the road conditions are there, so I’d rather have her stay here."
CMS buses and other transportation operated on a two-hour delay Tuesday. Dismissal in the afternoon will be at the normally scheduled time.
CMS is urged people to take caution on the roads Tuesday morning, especially in the areas that saw more snow that could have melted and turned to ice.
The full statement from CMS is below:
"Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will open on a two-hour delay on Tuesday, Dec. 11, for students and employees. Designated essential CMS personnel will report at normal time. CMS buses and other transportation will operate on a two-hour delay in the morning. CMS schools will dismiss in the afternoon at normal times. Before-school programs will operate on a two-hour delay and after-school programs on normal afternoon schedules. The district asks everyone to be patient tomorrow and to use extra caution traveling as some areas in our community have been more impacted than others by winter weather. Make-up days will be announced soon. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education will meet as scheduled Tuesday evening. Thank you for your support of all CMS schools."
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