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CMS parent encourages community to do their part to keep students learning in person this school year

Glen Stephens said he made the choice to get vaccinated against COVID-19 so his son, John, could attend school in person this year.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With the first week of school underway for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, administrators are working to keep students in the classroom as the highly contagious delta variant spreads. 

Glen Stephens' son John started third grade Wednesday, returning to five days of in-person learning a week, something the family pushed for last year. Stephens said his son, who has a disability, grew frustrated with remote learning on Zoom. 

"We were naturally concerned," Stephens said. "I was a big advocate that students, you know, in John's position with disabilities, were potentially going to experience difficulties with their learning."

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This school year, Stephens, like many parents, is hoping students continue in-person learning five days a week. He's encouraging adults to do everything they can to keep kids in the classroom and to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

"I'm not necessarily pro-vax mandate, but at the same time, you know, I can get a vaccine," Stephens said. "I've gotten a vaccine so that my son can be in the classroom."

Superintendent Earnest Winston echoed that sentiment Wednesday, stressing that vaccinations will be the only thing that ensures kids can remain in the classroom. 

Forest Creek Middle School in Fort Mill had to move to virtual instruction starting Thursday due to evidence of community spread within the school. Students will remain in remote classes for at least two weeks. 

Fort Mill School District reported 166 students tested positive COVID-19 and 1,181 were quarantined as of Thursday morning.

Local school districts in South Carolina are not allowed to require masks due to a state law tied to the funding for each district. CMS is requiring everyone in the school building to wear masks.

"We are very confident in the safety protocols that CMS has put in place," Stephens said. 

Contact Kendall Morris at kmorris2@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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