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CMS high schoolers planning "log out," pushing to return to in-person learning

The students are planning to skip their online classes on Friday, saying they believe there are ways to safely bring students back for in-person learning quicker.

CORNELIUS, N.C. — The CMS Board of Education meets on Wednesday night, the last meeting before more students return for in-person learning. But a group of students wants to have a say in the plans. They want to go back sooner.

The board will go through the latest coronavirus metrics in the district. So far, only exceptional and Pre-K students have gone back into the classroom. On Monday, kindergarten through 5th graders will return for the first time since March.

This comes as several high school students get ready to participate in a "log out,” a way to protest virtual learning. They hope their silence this Friday will speak volumes to board members.

The new normal for high school seniors Dakota Schmidt and Jason Gibbs is seeing their classmates and teachers on a computer screen at the kitchen counter.

“The first day I was really depressed and sad," Schmidt said. "I wasn't used to it and it was just sad knowing my whole senior year could possibly be online."

They're both a part of the student government at William A. Hough High School in Cornelius. They say they've talked to their classmates and don't think Plan C is working. 

They said they're concerned about their education.

“I've talked to many people and we all are like, in a joking way, but we're all like after this year, everyone’s going to be dumbed down,” Schmidt said.

On Friday, they're sending a message by logging off. They won't be in any of their virtual classes and think a lot of their peers will follow suit.

“I personally feel and know a lot of people I’ve talked to feel we're not really getting much representation from our school board," Jason Gibbs said. "I want to push ourselves across."

As coronavirus cases continue to rise in Mecklenburg county, CMS will bring kindergarten through 5th graders back for some in-person learning on Monday. Right now, high schoolers wouldn't return to class until January.

“We may not be going to school, but I can still go out to a restaurant or still go out to a football game and watch the Panthers play," Gibbs said. "While I do get cases are going up and we have to be safe with that, wear masks and social distancing, I definitely think it’s possible for us to return safely."

Schmidt and Gibbs said they understand safety is the top priority but think there are other services at school many students need to get by. They worry that keeping kids home longer could end up being a bigger issue.