CMS suspends field trips, out-of-district staff travel due to coronavirus concerns

CHARLOTTE — As the spread of coronavirus continues globally, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools announced Tuesday night it is suspending all travel, “which means that district-sponsored trips of any kind for staff or students are suspended for now."

“This is a rapidly changing health crisis, and we are preparing as best we can,” Superintendent Earnest Winston said.

If your kid has a field trip coming up in the CMS system, it just got canceled.

Winston announced all field trips and out of district staff travel has been indefinitely suspended because of the coronavirus.

“What I err on the side of is caution and making the best decision in the interest of student and staff safety,” Winston said.

For now, the travel suspension doesn’t apply to sports, band and choir competitions. That could change at a moment’s notice.

School district officials said they are awaiting guidance from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association about the next steps.

“This is one of those situations where one day we may wake up and the news will be completely different,” School Board Chair Elyse Dashew said.

School officials said they will talk early Wednesday with other large districts in the state about the best way to handle athletics and other competitions and will share those decisions.

The superintendent is not aware of any staff members or parents that have had to be in quarantine due to the coronavirus.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced earlier in the day that North Carolina is under a state of emergency.

“We will continue to monitor and make decisions as they are needed, and we’ll keep you advised,” CMS officials said in a news release.

CMS students who were in Washington, D.C. Tuesday will be back Wednesday.

Students who went to New York Tuesday morning are already back in Charlotte, and a spokesperson said they may have never left the airport.

Stanly County Schools

Stanly County Schools suspended all out-of-county field trips, which includes overnight field trips.

The district is asking that parents and guardians refrain from non-essential visits to the school.

Lancaster County Schools

Lancaster County Schools said the case in the county is not related to any school at this time.

School district officials are immediately suspending all field trips in state and out of state.

“We are going to limit outside school visitors, and volunteers to our schools immediately for the health and safety of our students and staff,” school officials said in a statement. “Those needing to visit our schools will be asked to remain in the office area to conduct their business.”

School athletics and athletic travel will continue as of now but could change.

School officials will release a plan on Thursday.

Union County Public Schools

Parents in Union County are asking the school district why a trip to Washington, D.C., was canceled hours before the students’ departure. They are also wondering why more than 400 families from Marvin Ridge Middle School could each be out more than $600.

“I appreciate that they’re trying to protect the families. I appreciate they’re trying to protect our school, but it’s a lot for everybody to take on,” said a parent.

In a statement from Union County Schools, leaders said this is a difficult situation. They said their decisions are constantly changing as they, too, get more information on the virus.

Other schools in our area, including Cabarrus County and Iredell-Statesville Schools, have also suspended travel either locally or nationally with concerns growing over the coronavirus.

“There was never any communication before the email that we might cancel or we might postpone. Nothing,” said parent Mike Simpson.

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