CHARLOTTE — Sean Strain understood the solution Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools presented to the school board when it came to bringing elementary school children back to classrooms in phases, but he wanted district leaders to show their work.
Administrators recommended one group of K-5 students attend school in-person Mondays and Tuesdays beginning Nov. 2 while a second group attends Thursdays and Fridays. The board unanimously approved the plan.
Strain, who represents District 6, quizzed administrators for several minutes Oct. 1 during an emergency meeting. He tried to get them to explain the risk-benefit analysis involved when it came to ruling out the possibility of a traditional return to school.
“With respect,” Strain said, “we don’t talk about the risk and damage when kids are not at school, which we have been told time and time and time again by public health officials at every level and by our medical partners here in the region that that is more substantial than the risk of having kids in the classroom during COVID.”
Administrators explained they could not guarantee social distancing for all situations, particularly buses. The district came up with the plan based on feedback from county health officials and educators.
At-large board member Jennifer De La Jara said she gets a lot of emails from the community that are split between wanting students to return to in-person instruction and wanting them to stay home to reduce
spread of COVID-19.
She summed it up as a “reflection of where we are in our community, our state and our country.”
South Charlotte representative Margaret Marshall says she gets a lot of questions about why CMS continues changing its reopening plans.
“There’s new information that comes available and I’m not going to apologize for adapting and asking staff to look at that information and act on it,” Marshall said.
She expressed interest in the district working its way up to an A-day, B-day scenario for middle school.
“It’s really going to depend on how our community deals with the flu,” Marshall said. “I see no reason why any adult who cares about kids, who cares about our community is not going to get a flu shot this year. I’m just going to put it out there.
“I need your children to get it, too, because this is really going to make a difference in how we stay open.”