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CMS teachers fear termination if they chose not to return in-person classes amid COVID-19 concerns

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools sent a survey to teachers asking them if they intend to return to in-person instruction. And some teachers are afraid if they say no.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Some teachers are worried that if they don’t feel comfortable going back into the classrooms, that they won’t have a job to go back to.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools sent out a survey to teachers asking them if they intend to return to in-person instruction.

And some teachers are afraid of what happens if they say no.

"I’m not saying I don’t want to do my job but, right now, in this day in time, it is a terrifying thing," said a CMS teacher.

CMS teachers are afraid to speak up these days.

"I do not think I have job protection," she said.

Understandable when you take a closer look at this new survey teachers received from CMS.

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HR asked the teachers if they intend to return to the classroom, or not.

The survey allows people who meet certain high-risk criteria for COVID-19 to apply for alternative work arrangements.

But it makes no promises, saying “checking the box that you intend to request an alternative work arrangement does not imply or guarantee that your request will be granted.”

"It’s really like you’re being pressured to say you’re gonna return regardless of the situation," said a CMS teacher.

CMS appears to be leaning toward a return that has students in class one week, and home for two.

Teachers though, would be there for all of it.

"To be very honest, it’s as if somebody’s sentencing us to the death sentence."

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School Board Chair member, Elyse Dashew said they are working diligently to provide remote options for teachers and students.

"We have to keep our teachers safe, so I don’t want a teacher to ever get the impression that their safety doesn’t matter," said Dashew.

We reached out to CMS to see if they could guarantee that a teacher’s job is protected if he or she doesn’t want to return to the classroom.

A spokesperson gave us this statement that says: “Employees should contact CMS benefits to learn more about medical condition exclusions.”

But said nothing about whether a teacher will still have a job if he or she just doesn’t feel safe.

"We prefer to be in the building, but we don’t want to put our lives in jeopardy just to please somebody else," said a CMS teacher.

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