CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) will resume a normal schedule on Wednesday, December 12, following the winter storm.
The district was closed Monday because of ice and snow. On Tuesday, many schools operated on a two-hour delay while select schools shut down.
The school district, which spans from as far south as Ballantyne to as far north as Davidson, said the safety of all students was the driving factor in their decisions.
In addition to dangerous road conditions, the district said 23 schools were left without power.
The following schools were closed for students and staff on Tuesday. Make-up days will be announced soon.
- Bailey MS
- Barnette ES
- Blythe ES
- Bradley MS
- Cornelius ES
- Croft ES
- David Cox ES
- Davidson ES
- Early Colleges at UNCC: Engineering and Teaching
- Grand Oak ES
- Hawthorne Academy
- Highland Creek ES
- Hopewell HS
- Hornets Nest ES
- Hough HS
- Huntersville ES
- Independence HS
- J.M. Alexander MS
- J.V. Washam ES
- Lebanon Road ES
- Long Creek ES
- Mallard Creek ES
- Mallard Creek HS
- Metro School
- Northeast MS
- North Mecklenburg HS
- Northwest School of the Arts
- Parkside ES
- Performance Learning Center
- Phillip O. Berry
- Piedmont Middle School IB
- Ridge Road MS
- Stoney Creek ES
- Torrence Creek ES
- Trillium Springs Montessori
- Waddell Language Academy
CMS released the following statement regarding their decision to close select schools in their district:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools appreciates the cooperation of the entire community as winter weather created hazardous conditions and caused widespread power outages all over Mecklenburg County in recent days.
With safety for students and staff as a priority, CMS closed select schools in three categories for Tuesday, December 11:
1) Home schools in hazardous areas – home schools located within icy and hazardous areas in northern Mecklenburg County.
2) Magnet schools with students traveling from hazardous areas – magnet schools draw students living in icy and hazardous areas of northern Mecklenburg County.
3) Schools without power - schools where power could not be restored in time to ensure safety, heating and lighting.
This decision was made after conditions in many neighborhoods and on roads around northern Mecklenburg County grew worse in the late afternoon on Monday or did not improve as much as hoped for to ensure safe travel for CMS buses and students and families driving to their assigned home or magnet schools. Crews worked through the night to restore power outages in some schools.
Last night’s decision does not reflect implementation of an ongoing policy but was an option exercised with safety as a priority and in response to deteriorating conditions, input from families and staff, and guidance from safety experts and law enforcement.
CMS continues to study open and close policies, practices and procedures for hazardous weather impacts. Safety will remain the priority. The district will update the community as discussions continue and will advise as soon as possible on any impacts as we continue to move through the winter months ahead.
In the town of Davidson, which saw 5-inches of snow, parents were applauding the district’s decision.
“There’s a lot of risk driving in the snow and ice, and I think it was a great decision to do that for the safety of the kids and the drivers and the teachers too, so I thought that was a good call,” said dad Tuan Bui.
As of late Monday afternoon, Davidson Elementary’s parking lot was still covered in snow, with many nearby roads slushy and wet.
“It’s dangerous, especially for the busses with the kids,” said Bui.
It was a similar sight at Huntersville Elementary. The parking lot and bus entrance were still under several inches of snow.
But towards the southern part of the county, schools including Starmount and Huntingtowne Farms Elementary showed little signs a storm even hit. Nearby roads were a little wet, but mainly clear.
So with parts of the county nearly untouched or recovered, parents are once again asking a question that’s been asked for years.
“I’m wondering why CMS is still under one large umbrella and why it hasn’t been divided into two separate districts being CMS North and CMS South?” asked mom Beth DeSchenes.
“It doesn’t serve the best interest of the children to be out when their areas aren’t affected, or the teachers for that matter if they’re having to use their personal days,” she added.
In a statement released by CMS Monday, the district said:
The enrollment deadline into CMS for lottery eligibility has been extended from Monday, December 10 TO Friday, December 14. CMS and Duke Energy crews continue to work hard to restore power to 23 schools and the district continues to monitor the impacts of winter weather. Safety for all students and staff is the top priority. Many students, families and staff must travel across Mecklenburg County to get to school and to work. CMS understands that bad weather causing unsafe transportation conditions and power outages leading to school closures are disruptive for everyone. The district will continue to work with weather and safety experts and law enforcement to make decisions today and this week.
In a follow-up release CMS announced:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will open on a two-hour delay on Tuesday, Dec. 11, for students and employees. Designated essential CMS personnel will report at normal time. CMS buses and other transportation will operate on a two-hour delay in the morning. CMS schools will dismiss in the afternoon at normal times. Before-school programs will operate on a two-hour delay and after-school programs on normal afternoon schedules. The district asks everyone to be patient tomorrow and to use extra caution traveling as some areas in our community have been more impacted than others by winter weather. Make-up days will be announced soon. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education will meet as scheduled Tuesday evening. Thank you for your support of all CMS schools.
NBC Charlotte reached out to CMS to see if power had been restored to all schools ahead of Tuesday opening. In an email, they said, “The expectation is that power would be restored at all schools by opening tomorrow (Tuesday).”
With several schools parking lots still covered in snow, we reached out to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to see how they prioritized clearing schools. The spokesperson told NBC Charlotte NCDOT is not responsible for schools.
We then asked CMS who is responsible and if they expect them to be cleared before the start of school Tuesday. CMS did not respond as of 5 p.m. Monday.
NBC Charlotte's Kendall Morris and Rachel Brown contributed to this report.