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In Reversal, CMS Will Allow Parents To Attend School Shows, Concerts

Providence High School Theatre Department
Providence High School students rehearse for the school's 2021 spring musical, Spamalot. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District said last week parents and family members would not be allowed to attend the show.

Updated 6 p.m. May 6

A week after Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools said no parents or family members would be allowed to attend school shows and performances this spring, the school district reversed course, saying each student will now be allowed up to two guests as long as a facility's capacity doesn't exceed 30%.

The reversal came after parents at Providence High School loudly objected, pointing out that no such restrictions had been placed on the parents of student-athletes.

Earlier this month, the school district raised the attendance limits for indoor and outdoor sporting events to 30% capacity, and Superintendent Earnest Winston said in a statement he was pleased that more family and friends would be able to see their student-athletes compete.

Following the outcry from theater parents, the school district said it reviewed Gov. Roy Cooper's updated executive order that took effect April 30, which stated that indoor gatherings of up to 100 people are permitted as long as people wear face coverings.

In light of the executive order, CMS said it will now allow students to have up to two guests at any school performance, including school shows, choir concerts, band and orchestra concerts, and dance recitals.

Indoor capacity for school performances will be capped at 30%, face coverings will be required, and family groups must sit 6 feet apart. Face coverings will be encouraged, though not required, at outdoor performances.

Parents involved with Providence High School's drama booster club said they welcomed the updated guidance.

"We're pleased with the concession, and I think ultimately, it's about the kids being able to showcase what they've done to their parents," said Mitzi Lynch, a Providence High parent and president of the school's drama booster club.

Students at the south Charlotte high school had been rehearsing since January for their spring show, "Spamalot," and had even delayed their scheduled opening as they waited for the school district to decide whether an in-person audience would be allowed for the show.

Lynch said the show was now rescheduled for May 21-23, and the school would allow students and faculty to attend the show in addition to parents and other guests. The audience would be capped at 264 people, or 30% of the auditorium's 880-seat capacity.

The school still planned to livestream the performance for those unable to attend in person.

"It's been a wild ride, but we're very excited that CMS finally, in the end, decided to do the right thing," Lynch said. "We're very happy."

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Nick de la Canal is a reporter for WFAE covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal