CHARLOTTE — An average of nearly 10,000 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students were marked absent for online classes each day during the week after Labor Day, officials said.
That is an 83% increase over the same period last year.
“If the Wi-Fi goes out, my kid doesn’t have any way to get on his tablet anymore, to get on his school,” parent Michael Sandifer said.
Sandifer and his girlfriend were working for a restaurant that went out of business. Th,en the motel they live in cut off their internet condition.
The gap between students who have access to the internet and those who don’t has been here for years, said Bruce Clark, executive director at Digital Charlotte at Queens University.
The pandemic exposed the digital divide and made it more important to figure out solutions to get students back in the virtual classroom.
“If we don’t, and we have large swaths of our community fall into that gap, the statistics on kids who don’t graduate high school and the challenges they face the rest of their lives should scare every one of us,” Clark said.
CMS is keeping track of who is in virtual classes and who isn’t. Teachers and principals are contacting parents when that happens and are trying to make sure there isn’t something else going on.
K-5 students will get two days of in-person learning each week beginning on Nov. 2.
Research has shown students who are behind on their reading by the end of third grade were four times more likely to drop out of high school.
There is also the risk of bringing children and teachers back to school.
Third grade Norwood Elementary teacher Julie Davis died over the weekend from COVID-19.
Davis' family said she got the virus from a student, but the school district said she did not.
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