CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials say they're beginning to see the impacts of the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Charlotte area in classrooms, with dozens of schools announcing active cases this week.
Every week, the district puts out new data from the previous week and reviews it publicly. Monday, some of the key metrics move into the red zone, indicating significant spread.
After two weeks of some in-person learning for elementary students, 54 schools have active cases of COVID-19. That's out of 176 in the entire district and 94 elementary schools. District officials said Monday it doesn't seem like the virus is spreading inside of the schools themselves.
CMS leaders said with kindergarten through fifth grade students back in the classroom part-time, that leads to more interaction. With that comes more COVID-19 cases.
“We have 54 schools that recorded cases in the last 14 days," said Kathy Elling, the chief school performance officer for CMS. "That moves that metric into the red zone. So, our number is one positive or more in the schools represented here."
In all, 18 out of the 41,688 students going for in-person classes two days per week have tested positive in the last 14 days. During that same time period, 30 staff members out of 19,106 who are working, contracted the virus.
“If cases start to connect as a result of a school situation, that would indicate that the virus is spreading within the school. All of our cases right now are not related which leads us to the second row, which shows we have no clusters,” said Elling.
School leaders said they are reading to welcome back the next group of students. All middle schoolers were set to return next Monday, but a bus driver shortage pushed the district to delay that. Now, only those who go to a K-8 school will return on Nov. 30, right after Thanksgiving break. A calendar change that's concerning some teachers.
“We’re going to have families that just really want to be together for the holidays and they're going to go do that. We are. And to come right back into buildings with people who have been traveling is very unsafe,” said Jen Bourne, a CMS middle school teacher.
District officials said students have been doing a great job at following the rules. They are reminding the general public it is important to wear masks and social distance to ensure the district can bring more students back for in-person learning.