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CMS announces plans for students in Exceptional Children program to return to classroom

Students in the program will return to school buildings as early as September 29. They will be the first CMS students to return to the classroom.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has a plan to get the first students back into school buildings.  The first group of students to attend in-person learning will be students in the Exceptional Children program.  

The district sent a letter to parents Thursday morning informing them of a target start date of September 29.  

According to the Department of Education, the term “exceptional” refers to students who learn and develop differently from most others or students who have exceptional learning styles, exceptional talents, or exceptional behaviors. Exceptional students are those who fall outside of the normal range of development.

"We will begin with families of students with the most complex and intensive needs as identified by their placement in self-contained classes and public separate schools," the letter said. 

The students include those enrolled at Metro School, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Academy, Extensions, Specialized Behavior Support, EC PreK Separate, and Homebound.  The district will also consider students from other programs and schools after successfully launching the programs for the students identified, according to the letter. 

Credit: WCNC

Parents can expect EC teachers to reach out by phone starting this week to inform families if they are scheduled to return to in-person learning on September 29 or if they will continue remote learning for the time being.

WCNC Charlotte has talked with several families of exceptional students who shared concerns about the impact of virtual learning on this group of kids. 

RELATED: 'They're not providing equal education' | Family with special needs son says CMS reopening will fail their son

“We have a hard time getting him to spend more than five minutes talking to his grandparents over Skype,” said Steven Abercrombie,  father of 11-year-old Carl, who has autism. 

Carl, like thousands of other CMS students, has an individualized education plan. Children with IEPs often rely on special services that you can only get in person at school. 

"We (CMS EC) are working alongside and in alignment with other departments to meet all safety requirements to protect both students and staff," read the letter. 

After talking with families in the program, CMS Programs for Exceptional Children said it will work to ensure adequate staffing for in-person and remote learning.  The target implementation date for in-person learning is September 29. 

Meantime, the CMS Metrics Advisory Committee met this morning to discuss metrics and data that would allow the district to start implementing in-person learning for all students. 

RELATED: CMS Metrics Advisory Committee to complete roadmap for reopening schools

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