Update: Charlotte's Big Private Schools Will Send Kids Home To Prevent Coronavirus Spread

Mar 12, 2020

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the letter from Charlotte Latin Head of School Chuck Baldecchi as saying there was a confirmed case in the school community. Another version said all three schools had decided to shift to online learning after spring break.

Three large private schools in Charlotte are closing their campuses Friday and preparing to shift to online classes after spring break to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Charlotte Country Day, Charlotte Latin and Providence Day School notified families Thursday afternoon that they'll dismiss for spring break Friday,  instead of waiting until next week, and are making plans to launch distance learning after the break ends.

School leaders met Thursday afternoon to consider the risks after the first two cases of coronavirus in Mecklenburg County were reported earlier in the day.

In a letter to Charlotte Latin families, Head of School Chuck Baldecchi wrote Thursday that "my guess is that we will move to Level 5 over break, with a confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) case in the Latin community. Level 5 triggers remote learning."

Leigh Dyer, communications director at Providence Day, said her school will switch to online instruction after spring break. She said the school had to consider not only the community situation but the possibility that some families will travel to high-risk areas over the break.

Dyer says teachers at Providence Day, which has 1,700 students, already use Google Classroom and Google Hangouts for a number of tasks.

"Those are ideally suited for enabling their lessons to be done via distance learning if that should become necessary," she said.

Mark Reed, head of school at Charlotte Country Day, told families to be prepared for remote learning.

"All Middle and Upper School students have been reminded today to take all their textbooks, notebooks, and Surface/iPads home with them over break," he wrote. "Lower School students will be sent home with learning materials provided by their teachers, but will not be bringing home school devices."

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, which has about 150,000 students in pre-K through high school, says schools will stay open unless there’s a case of coronavirus in staff or students.

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