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CMS restores original spring break

Following a statewide declaration to close public schools, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools is restoring their original April spring break dates.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools has reinstituted their original April spring break after a statewide declaration closed all public schools for much of March.

Spring break will occur between April 13 and 17th as originally scheduled.

Last week, amid growing concerns about the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education voted to move spring break from April to March. The move was intended as a way to give teachers time to prepare online classes and give officials time to prepare a response to the coronavirus.

Following North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper's declaration to close public schools statewide, CMS' earlier decision to move spring break to March 23 was redundant and reversed Monday.

During Monday night's second emergency meeting, school district officials discussed the need for supplemental work that would not be graded or mandated for completion. 

While the plan was still being finalized, students between kindergarten and third grade would seek educational materials on the school district website and social media. Students between fourth grade and high school would access materials on their chrome books and packets sent home with work.

The district was seeking solutions to help students without Internet at home.

All students can obtain printed, educational material at any one of the 70 sites that will also be disturbing free meals to students.

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Spectrum is also providing students 60 days of free wi-fi access, where available, to help with school assignments.

The district said over the past 3 years, they handed out over 10,000 hot spots to high school students.

They have additional hot spots to distribute but not enough for all students in need of home Internet access.

"There is a lot going on but this plan I think will help students as much socially, and emotionally, as it will academically," said Brian Kingsley, the Chief Academic Officer for CMS.

The district has not yet decided the fate of third-quarter grades, or the possibility that the school year may have to be expanded. 

"We want to be clear that these courses are supplemental in nature," CMS Board Member Margaret Marshall said. "They should not be graded, they should not be mandated or required for completion. But they are opportunities for students to go deeper with learning." 

For teachers and staff, the goal is to have everyone who can work remotely, to be doing so by Wednesday.

Tuesday will be the last day for teachers to go to schools to get anything they need.

WCNC Charlotte has also learned that if a CMS employee gets the coronavirus, and is mandated to isolate or self-quarantine, they will be paid as usual and will not need to tap into their sick time. 

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster has also closed public schools in his state.

Many colleges have moved instructions online as well.

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