CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On Monday, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper extended statewide school closures until May 15. The decision left parents, district staff and others wondering what happens next. 

WCNC spoke with CMS Board of Education chair Elyse Dashew ahead of Tuesday’s regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting to help get parents some answers.

“I think the only thing we can safely say is that we can’t predict anything right now,” says Dashew.

Dashew is a single mom, whose child attends a CMS school, but says right now her focus is on the more than 148,000 CMS students and the over 18,000 staff members. 

Dashew says while the governor has closed ‘in-school learning’, she says the district itself is still open for business and says the board is committed to making sure staff continue to be paid.

“We as a school board actually sent a letter to the state asking them to ensure us that we will be able to continue to pay all of our staff regardless of how long this shutdown lasts,” she said. “I’m hopeful that they will say yes.” 

Dashew says another question she’s been receiving from parents is why the enhanced online learning students and teachers are engaging in remotely during in-home isolation, won’t count toward grades? 

Dashew says it comes down to state regulations.

“We are actually not allowed to move forward with the curriculum through distance learning so we’re waiting on the state to change some regulations and you know, give us more guidance on how to do that and have it count,” Dashew said. 

Perhaps more than anything else, many parents are wondering whether students will have to make up missed days and whether or not kids would have to make up missed time over the summer. Dashew said that’s not a decision CMS has the power to make. 

“Local school districts in North Carolina have very little flexibility for our calendars and so that for sure would be a decision that would come from the state level,” she says. “It’s starting to feel like a cliché, but we’re in unchartered waters and I don’t know what mandates were going to get from the governor or what decision the state board and general assembly are going to make, so I can’t predict anything.”

Dashew says the 69 school sites, currently serving meals to children will remain open and that their food delivery partnerships will continue. 

She says CMS bus drivers have also begun to make food deliveries. 

Tuesday night, CMS released a summary for the superintendent's proposed budget recommendation for the 2020-2021 school year. It can be found here.

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