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CMS Weekly COVID-19 Tally Shows Mixed Signals, 10 Employee Cases

From the CMS COVID-19 report posted Monday.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
From the CMS COVID-19 report posted Monday.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools had 10 employees test positive for COVID-19 last week, up from seven the week before. The district has about 19,100 employees.

The district's weekly COVID-19 report shows mixed signals. There were no student cases out of 1,073 students with disabilities who were in classrooms last week. And the county's testing positivity rate fell to 4.9%, moving into the "green zone" that signals minimal community spread.

The second public health metric, cases per 100,000 residents, remained in the moderate yellow zone, with 53 cases.

And even with less than 1% of students attending in-person classes, CMS has moved into the yellow zone on both measures used to gauge the spread of the virus in schools.

The readiness dashboard shows that between 10 and 50 of 175 schools had at least one positive case and/or at least 25 people in quarantine during the past 14 days.

The district has struggled to get the dashboard right during the first two weeks. Its first dashboard said there was only one student case out of 145,616 students. CMS later acknowledged it was tracking only about 1,100 students who were attending special education classes that week — and still hasn't explained the total of 145,616. Reports posted this week show CMS with a total of 140,073 students.

On Monday, the second dashboard listed 18 employee cases. But Tuesday the district revised that, saying there were only 10 cases last week.

CMS is bringing students back in phases. As of last week's report, there were 1,073 students with disabilities in 86 schools. This week about 1,500 prekindergarten students came back to school, and K-5 students begin a phased-in return Nov. 2.

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Corrected: October 14, 2020 at 9:42 AM EDT
An earlier version of this story had a higher total of employee cases, based on the initial report posted by CMS.
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.