Several private schools cancel in-person classes following Meck County health directive

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Several private schools changed their plans following Tuesday’s directive from Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris.

According to the directive, residents should utilize full-virtual options for work, school and any other activity where in-person activity is not required.

Hours after the directive was issued, Charlotte Latin, Charlotte Country Day and Providence Day School announced that they were all canceling in-person classes on Wednesday.

Charlotte Christian canceled in-person learning for lower and middle school students on Wednesday while upper school students will continue learning from home.

Many parents put their kids in private or charter schools specifically to avoid virtual learning. But because of the confusion over the directive, they found themselves in a late-night scramble with schedules suddenly changing.

Brannon Brooks’ 7th-grade daughter and 5th-grade son attend Covenant Day and Fletcher School. She got word her daughter’s school was closed Wednesday late Tuesday night but didn’t learn changes to her son’s schedule until Wednesday morning.

She said both of them struggle to learn online and have trouble with the uncertainty.

“I think that only incites anxiety in kids, in my experience and with my kids,” Brooks said. “I don’t think any kid thrives when they have an inconsistent schedule or they don’t know what is going to happen next.”

It’s not just private and charter K-12 schools that suddenly changed plans. Initially, Central Piedmont Community College moved online but then told students Wednesday afternoon that classes in certain career and technical programs will be in-person on Thursday.

The county has clarified that Harris’ directive is not an executive order or a mandate. Channel 9 reached out to the county for further clarification and they said this is voluntary and schools do not have to close.

A county spokesperson tweeted that Harris said she hopes “by putting this into writing it will increase our community’s willingness to help us all get this current situation under control.”

COVID-19 cases in Mecklenburg County continue to grow at an exponential rate from an average of 100 cases per day in September to 900 per day currently.