CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools are preparing for more students and teachers to return to the classroom on Monday.
Monday morning, middle and high school students will go back to the classrooms. They'll be joining elementary students who went back to in-person learning last Monday.
They will be on a hybrid learning model, but students still have the option for full-online learning.
CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston said the district is ready for middle and high school student's return.
"This is a big moment for many CMS families as these students anticipate entering our buildings for the first time this school year," Winston said. "We know from the feedback that we received, we know that it will be a big day. And I want to ensure you we have taken great care to make sure everything is ready for this day."
Winston added, "the safety practices and protocol that we have implemented for transportation, from arrival and departure times, in our classroom, at mealtimes and extracurricular activities will be followed without expectations."
Students returning will have to fill out a symptom screener form every day before class starts. Families are encouraged to fill it out online, but school staff will have forms available.
As for bus riders, there is a special bus form that needs to be filled out weekly.
Temperatures will be checked before walking into school and face masks are required, and lunches will be staggered with a touch-free checkout.
"They're not coming back in full force," CMS coordinated school health specialist Monica Adamian said.
Despite safety measures, there are still concerns. Some teachers are still waiting for their extra shot of protection.
"If we are going to prioritize education, then we need to prioritize educators as well," CMS teacher Jessie Molle said.
This all unfolding as gaps in learning have emerged during the pandemic.
State legislators are currently drafting a bill that would require public schools to offer in-person learning over the summer. It's a move CMS leaders said they've already been planning.
"Our instructional team recognized early on that students would need an extended learning opportunity to make up any unfinished instruction," Winston said.
Details are still being worked out, but school leaders say the goal is to support students -- not penalize them.
Lastly, if students do not feel well, they should stay home.