A dozen area school districts returned to the classroom on Monday

CHARLOTTE — Monday marked the first day of school for hundreds of thousands of students across North Carolina.

In the Channel 9 viewing area, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools was the largest district returning to the classroom, but students in Alexander, Anson, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Iredell, Lincoln, Richmond, Stanly and Union counties also started school.

“The greatest thing that I’ve noticed ... kids are focused, teachers are focused, students are focused, learning already on the first day. Just came from Crestdale. Yes, they’ve had a few vacancies, got his doctorate, felt the call to help you guys. He’s going to stay for the next few months to provide great instruction,” said CMS Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh.

The impact of a new school year goes way beyond the classroom with commutes getting more congested from more drivers and thousands of school buses.

Some new schools also welcomed students for the first time, including Palisades High School and Shamrock Gardens Elementary School.

A mother at Shamrock Gardens Elementary told Channel 9 that things in the pickup line were as close to perfect as one could get.

“It was the smoothest I actually every done it with. We went in, we were about to talk with the teachers, they already had it set up for us, got to go in, go out, get to both classes and still have enough time to get back to them,” said Shonta Roseboro.

Teacher vacancies

Across CMS, 141,000 students and 18,000 staff members returned to school.

The district said 53 schools are fully staffed, but that’s it’s still looking to hire 390 teachers. That number is actually up from 370 last Friday. CMS officials said that was because the new hires declined the job after accepting it.

One way the district said it’s filling teacher vacancies is by using what’s known as “guest teachers.” They are different from a regular substitute teacher, because they report to the same school every day.

Currently, CMS has more than 400 guest teachers with openings for about 40 more. Applicants don’t need an advanced degree, but some positions require a license.

>> Channel 9 is following along with the latest back-to-school developments throughout the day and will have team coverage starting at 5 p.m. on Eyewitness News.

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(WATCH BELOW: Parents worry after remote learning extended for Rowan County middle school)

Jonathan Lowe

Jonathan Lowe, wsoctv.com

Jonathan is a reporter for WSOC-TV.