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CMS Schools With COVID-19 Cases Rise Into Red Zone

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Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools had COVID-19 cases in 54 schools during the past two weeks, moving into the red zone on that metric for the first time.

The report released Monday covers the first two weeks that elementary students were back for in-person classes. During those two weeks, CMS had 29 student cases out of almost 41,700 elementary, pre-K and special education students attending in person. Fifty-nine of 19,100 employees tested positive in the last two weeks.

The tally comes as community spread is rising across Mecklenburg County. Chief School Performance Officer Kathy Elling said that appears to account for the staff and student cases.

"All of our cases currently are not related," she said. "We have zero clusters currently, and clusters are defined as five or more interrelated cases."

The weekly data dashboard is designed to gauge whether conditions are right for students to attend in-person classes. Red ratings could signal such classes are unsafe, but officials say no one measure triggers an automatic return to all-remote learning.

The number of cases per 100,000 Mecklenburg residents has been in the red zone and rising for the past four weeks. Last week there were 158.4 cases per 100,000 people in a seven-day period; anything over 100 is considered a "red zone" warning.

CMS is scheduled to bring sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders back to K-8 schools Nov. 30, with middle and high schools launching in-person classes in January.

On Monday CMS posted its second weekly list of schools with student or staff cases of COVID-19.