CMS superintendent gives update days after COVID-19 clusters reported at 3 schools

CMS superintendent gives update days after COVID-19 clusters reported at 3 schools

CHARLOTTE — Parents and students want to know when it will be safe for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ students to return to the classroom. Students are expected to stay fully remote until Feb. 12.

CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston gave an update Friday, just days after Channel 9 learned about clusters in three district schools.

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From a staffing, facility and operational perspective, CMS is ready to welcome back students. But the other big piece is the COVID-19 numbers and community spread.

CMS updated its dashboard earlier this week. It showed 55 more CMS students tested positive for the virus. From Jan. 9 through Jan. 15, 114 staff members tested positive, in addition to the students.

The district said 112 schools have had at least one case of COVID-19 reported in the last two weeks.

Several already reported virus cases investigated at North Meck High School, Butler High School and Lake Wylie Elementary School are now classified as clusters, according to the county health department. Both high school clusters are on the men’s basketball teams.

The district said students and staff have already quarantined, and those campuses have been cleaned.

Students were supposed to go back to school on Tuesday, but the district pushed that return date back. They will now stay fully remote until Feb. 12.

In-person learning for Pre-K through 5th grade and K-8 schools, as well as some students with disabilities, will start Feb. 15., with middle and high schools following on Feb. 22.

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Superintendent Winston also talked about the highly anticipated vaccine for student-facing staff, which he said is a top priority.

“We, along with our board, are advocating in every possible way to make sure those who interact with students get early and equitable appointments to protect themselves from the virus,” Winston said.

He said they are going to keep staff updated as they learn more about timing, and they do not have any current plans in the district to mandate that their employees receive the vaccine.