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How delay of in-person learning affects CMS spring sports

The CMS board made the difficult decision citing the directive from health director Gibbie Harris.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It's a major change for CMS families. The district voted Thursday to start the spring semester completely online.

This means elementary and K-8 students with special needs won't return to the classroom until at least Feb. 15.

Middle and high school students won't go back until at least Feb. 22, and on top of that, extracurricular activities like sports, have been canceled.

CMS teams will not be allowed to play or practice until at least Feb. 15, which means some teams either won't finish their season or will have half their season taken away.

The board said it's not a popular decision, but one they felt was necessary.

"As a student-athlete myself, there are so many positives of working with a team and being on a team," CMS junior Breana Fowler said. 

Superintendent Winston called it a tough decision, with the pandemic taking a toll on sports yet again.

"It has been agonizing and heart-wrenching to have to bring such a recommendation in light," CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston said.

The CMS board made the difficult decision citing the directive from health director Gibbie Harris who, two days ago, urged schools to switch to remote learning due to COVID-19 spread in the community.

RELATED: Here's what the COVID-19 directive means for you in Mecklenburg County

CMS board members felt conflicted.

"I believe athletics can make an average student a great academic performer," CMS board member Rhonda Cheek said. 

Meanwhile, COVID-19 has severely impacted the performing arts.

"With every passing month, I am missing more and more theatre opportunities," CMS senior Quint Hill said. 

Students say they haven't been able to rehearse with their peers throughout the entire pandemic, while sports teams have been able to practice together.

Hill said he's not sure if he can get into the colleges he wants.

"I am now at a severe competitive disadvantage from around the country who have continued to do what they love," Hill said. 

It's also important to note, there is an exception to sports. The board decided that students participating in state volleyball playoffs and cross country regionals can still do so. Those finals are next week.

RELATED: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools votes to keep students virtual until at least Feb. 15