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Cabarrus Schools Cancel In-Person Classes As County Is Declared A COVID-19 Red Zone

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Cabarrus County Schools
Slide showing record high daily COVID-19 cases in Cabarrus County, presented at Wednesday's emergency school board meeting.

The Cabarrus County school board voted at an emergency meeting Wednesday night to return to all-remote classes because COVID-19 numbers are spiking.

The district will stop in-person classes from Dec. 14 to Jan. 15 -- the same decision the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board made less than 24 hours earlier.

The emergency meeting was called two days after a regular meeting where new Cabarrus board members were sworn in. Superintendent Chris Lowder said the numbers had changed enough in that time to raise alarms. Cabarrus County is now listed as a red-zone hot spot under the state's COVID-19 alert system, and daily cases hit a record high Wednesday.

When the state introduced the color-coded ratings three weeks ago, only 10 counties were labeled red, which signals critical community spread. Gaston was the only one in the Charlotte region. Now 48 counties have hit that level, including all of those surrounding Mecklenburg.

Lowder told the board that community spread is driving up teacher absences even if spread isn't happening in schools. He said he polled some principals and heard about teachers who stayed home because their children's daycare was closed, because a family member had tested positive, or because they have symptoms and must quarantine immediately.

The vote was 5-2 (watch the meeting video here). Board members will review data in January to decide whether it’s safe to bring students back.

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