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For CMS, No Proms, No Midterms And No Answers Yet From State

Seven Shooter

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools pulled the plug on spring proms Tuesday night, as the county prepares to go on stay-home orders to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

While Gov. Roy Cooper has held out hope that students might return May 18 for a last few weeks of class time and graduation ceremonies, CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston said the risk is too great to move ahead with big gatherings at prom time.

CMS has also exempted all students from midterm exams.

But top CMS officials said Tuesday they still can’t answer the biggest question: How will the next seven weeks of learning from home work?

Winston said the state has to provide the guidelines for switching into long-term learning-from-home mode. After a Tuesday morning call between state officials and local superintendents, he said, a lot of questions remain.

"We want answers. Our families want answers," Winston said. "And as soon as we get that information we’ll be providing updates to the board and families and members of our community."

Board member Margaret Marshall said no one should be surprised that questions remain, given the speed and scope of converting to education based on digital connections instead of classrooms.

"In two weeks, we have basically upended public education in every way that it has been delivered for probably 300 years," she said.

Winston and his staff told the CMS board that once state decisions come through, schools will be ready to offer real class work – as opposed to the ungraded “supplemental” work happening now – as early as Monday.

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Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.