CHARLOTTE, N.C. — More Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students returned to their classrooms for the first time this school year on Monday morning.
Some sixth through eighth graders in K-8 schools will head back for Monday-Tuesday instruction and others will go back Thursdays and Fridays.
All students will learn remotely on Wednesdays.
However, students in grades sixth through eighth in traditional middle schools are scheduled to go back after winter break on Jan. 5.
That’s in part because more than 100 bus drivers in CMS are using their leave through the end of the year. That created a shortage of drivers and that would make it impossible for students to socially distance on the remaining buses.
The district is also working to hire more drivers. CMS is holding a series of job fairs for drivers. The next is this Wednesday and there is another next Wednesday as well.
As more students return, parents also have a crucial decision to make by Monday. They have to decide if they want to switch their children from full-remote to in-person learning next semester or vice versa, and notify their school in writing.
“As a parent of four kids, it’s hard trying to juggle everything at once, so that’s what I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do now,” said mother Jeffreia Pitt.
Pitt is the parent to three CMS students. By the end of this week, two of her children will have started some in-person learning, but now she’s trying to figure out if she’ll keep them in-person next semester.
“It’s just so hard I can’t. Today is the last day and it’s just so hard for me but I think I’d rather for them to stay home,” Pitt said. “It’s just a lot more safe and from what the teachers have been doing remotely, it’s been working out pretty good. I mean I feel like they’re still getting the same education they get in school.”
Another important decision parents have to make is if their child will need school bus transportation next semester.
Families are asked to fill out a survey by the end of the day Monday to let the district know. It’s so they can figure out any schedule changes and update bus routes.
They are difficult decisions to make now and to plan for. So many parents are wrestling with these decisions, like Pitt as she leans toward keeping her children home.
“Just for the safety and it puts a lot more work on us parents, especially being a single mom, and stay at home mom, but I want my kids to live,” Pitt said.
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