Temporary shift to remote learning at individual schools will not require Board approval
CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 24, 2020 — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education approved additional flexibility for Superintendent Earnest Winston at an emergency meeting Nov. 24.
The approved action gives Winston authority to shift an individual school to remote learning if the school meets certain defined criteria. The authority expires at the end of the current school year.
“The COVID-19 pandemic requires us to pivot quickly and decisively,” said Board Chair Elyse Dashew. “If a school’s metrics indicate a risk to students or staff, or if staffing levels are so reduced by quarantines, leaves or illness that it’s impossible to operate an individual school safely, we need speedy decision-making. Giving Superintendent Winston this authority will make that possible.”
The approved motion, introduced by Board Vice Chair Thelma Byers-Bailey, gives the superintendent “the authority to transition individual schools from in-person instruction to remote instruction, as needed, to ensure the health and safety of students” if one of three criteria are met. The criteria are:
1. When the Mecklenburg County Health Department directs that an individual school building be closed for COVID-19 reasons;
2. When district staff, in collaboration with the Mecklenburg County Health Department, believe remote learning is needed for health and safety reasons; or
3. When the superintendent determines that staffing levels at an individual school prevent the school from providing a safe and healthy educational environment for students.
The motion also says the superintendent shall return students to in-person instruction as soon as he determines it is safe, and that the additional authority expires June 30, 2021.
“Obviously, we want to keep students in the classroom as much as we can during this unprecedented time,” Winston said. “But we also want to keep them safe – and this virus can move very quickly, so we need to be able to move quickly too.”
When a school must move to remote learning, parents will be notified by school staff of the change through Connect5. District leaders are monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases at each school and providing a weekly group of metrics to the Board and the public.