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In-person instruction delayed until Oct. 19

After learning last week that Charlotte County has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases and the confirmation that three Charlotte County Public Schools (CCPS) employees tested positive for the virus, school board members unanimously voted Tuesday, Sept. 8, to delay the start of in-person instruction.

The hybrid return to in-person instruction will now begin on Oct. 19, following the recommendation of CCPS Superintendent Robbie Mason.

Gloria Talbott

Board Chairperson Gloria Talbott spoke up to say that she was concerned for the children’s safety and concerned about those who may be at risk living in households with school children.

“I am not in favor of starting back on Monday,” Talbot said. “I am in favor of postponing.”

A letter was read from CCPS educator Emily Price Anderson during the public comment period in which she wrote to the board that she had safety concerns.

“I feel strongly that it is not safe for students to return on Sept. 14,” Anderson said.

Currently, Charlotte County Public Schools (CCPS) is 100% virtual learning. At its August meeting, the school board voted to move the hybrid in-person opening to Monday, Sept. 14.

“It is important that the school board have the most up-to-date health information as they consider in-person instruction for students, and the fact that three of these positive cases were pediatric cases is alarming,” Mason said.

Mason further said CCPS is working with the Piedmont Health District to provide current and accurate information to the board as the COVID-19 pandemic is continuously changing.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, school board member Angela Cooke said she was concerned about bringing students back to an environment that may not be safe.

“I know this is hard, and we have to change the way we do things,” Cook said, noting she was in favor of keeping students at home until health data showed otherwise.

“We are going to have to do what we have to do to get our kids educated,” she said, “We are all learning … let’s work together. We have to move forward as things change.”