CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education voted largely in favor of making Nov. 1 an extra teacher workday during a meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 26.
According to district leaders, the request for the additional workday was multi-faceted. First, it adds a workday before the Nov. 2 election, which was already a teacher workday. Also, considering it's the day after Halloween, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools anticipates that Monday to have a high rate of absenteeism.
Students will now have four consecutive days off: Saturday, Oct. 30, Sunday, Oct. 31, Monday, Nov. 1, and Tuesday, Nov. 2. While this extra day off would lower the instructional days to 176, school officials said that would still meet the required amount of schooling hours.
While just one board member voted against the decision, the majority who supported the measure voiced what they said were two truths that could coexist: educators needed more time for professional development, and parents may be scrambling for childcare. Additionally, they shifted some of the blame to the state legislature, saying they weren't given many details on the new training initiatives and only recently got more details about required teacher workdays and partial instruction days needed.
Another key part of Tuesday's meeting was a discussion over what's needed for CMS to drop its mask mandate. CMS follows the county's recommendation, which advises that masks be worn in public places until the COVID-19 positivity rate drops below 5%, or if at least 50% of kids age 11 to 17 become fully vaccinated.
CMS said the mandate could continue if there are still increases in the number of clusters in schools across the district over the last 30 days. The board did not discuss dropping the mandate, but did look at what it would take to go mask-optional.
One board member said she was anxious to get to that point, but said they would stick with the current mandate in place from Mecklenburg County.
During Tuesday evening's meeting, the board also discussed three additional early release days of Nov. 17, 2021, Feb. 9, 2022, and March 30, 2022. The remaining early release days already scheduled are Dec. 8, 2021, March 9, 2022, and May 4, 2022. The additional days were approved as part of the vote on making Nov. 1 a teacher workday.
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