The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education voted in an emergency meeting Jan. 14 to modify the district plan to return to in-person instruction. Based on the public health director's directive in response to rising COVID-19 infection rates in Mecklenburg County, the Board voted to delay all students' return to classrooms.
The Board decision will return pre-K, elementary, K-8 and students with disabilities who have been identified through an IEP process to receive in-person services to class on Feb. 15. Students in traditional middle and high schools will return to in-person instruction on Feb. 22. Previously, all students were scheduled to return to in-person instruction on Jan. 19.
"None of us wants to delay our students' return to classrooms," said Board Chair Elyse Dashew. "But the metrics do not support a safe return right now. We have considered the directive issued by Public Health Director Gibbie Harris in making this decision, but the decision must be -- and has been -- made by us, the elected members of the Board of Education."
The Mecklenburg County Health Department issued its directive on Jan. 12. The directive recommends "full virtual options" for work, school and other activities where possible.
It also recommends that county residents avoid recreational contact with others, avoid non-essential travel, continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing and only leave home for essential activities such as working or buying food. (The complete directive can be found here.)
In the directive, Harris noted that COVID-19 cases increased from an average of 100 cases a day in September to 900 cases per day in mid-January.
Harris also noted in the directive that the exponential growth in the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and related deaths requires immediate action on the part of every member of our community.