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'It's hard to get participation' | CMS teachers share concern over back to school plan

Students will have two weeks of in-person classes on a rotating schedule before all learning goes virtual August 31. It will be a major challenge for teachers.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Teachers, students and parents in the Charlotte area now have a better idea of what the upcoming school year will looking after Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools voted Wednesday night on its reopening plan.

The Board of Education went into Wednesday's emergency meeting with a mix of Plans B and C, but ultimately, they chose Plan B-Plus, which means by September, every CMS student will be learning virtually. The board came to their conclusion after a nearly six-hour meeting with debates over proposed reopening plans. The option finally passed 7-1.

"There's no way we're 100% happy. No way. Everyone has a very strong, passionate opinion with good motive," said Lindsay London, a CMS teacher. 

Students will go to school for in-person learning for the first two weeks on a rotating schedule that allows for social distancing and safety measures to be in place. On the days they aren't in class, they'll be learning virtually. On August 31, the start of the third week, everything will be virtual. 

London worried she won't be able to give her elementary students the resources they need to succeed. 

THE LATEST: School reopening plans listed district-by-district

"I feel, virtually, you just don't build the relationship with kids that you do live and in person. With that being said, we have to do whatever is the safest thing," London said. 

RELATED: Working parents, and those whose children have special needs, sound off on struggles with remote learning

Remote learning was challenging for her at the end of last school year, Just 10 out of her 45 students consistently participated. London knows it's not the opinion of every teacher, but she was anxious and hopeful she'd be back in the classroom in some capacity. 

"It's hard to get participation," London said. "It's hard to get kids engaged and motivated virtually, especially if they don't know me."

The small, in-person start to the school year will be critical in successfully starting kids off on the right foot. 

"The key will be maximizing that time as much as possible," London said. "There has to be no wasting of a minute of the day when they're with you because you're going to have to really build that foundation for learning."

RELATED: Parents rushing to hire tutors, teachers to keep kids learning and engaged, while not in school

The CMS plan also raises issues for working parents who will have to balance it all and there are concerns about equity issues for students with different home lives. CMS has not said how long they plan to implement remote learning, and the district is expected to provide further details in the coming days. 

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