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Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools officials discuss monkeypox plan, staff vacancies and student meals ahead of day one

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – District Leaders with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools presented its plan regarding monkeypox for the 2022-2023 school year.

It comes just a day after Mecklenburg County health officials confirmed a child had tested positive for the virus.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Full coverage here

It comes just a day after Mecklenburg County health officials confirmed a child tested positive for monkeypox.

Treva Johnson, Coordinated School Health Specialist for CMS, said at Friday morning’s press conference that district leaders are in ongoing contact with Mecklenburg County Public Health regarding monkeypox.

“We don’t want to cause any type of alarm and want them to know that we are in constant contact with the Mecklenburg County Public Health Department and that we are formalizing an action plan and we will have details ready for school opening on Monday,” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, health officials have recommended that CMS develop an exposure and response plan.

The district also received guidance from the county health department, with many features of CMS’s COVID-19 response plan applicable to monkeypox, Johnson said.

More than 120 cases of monkeypox have been reported in Mecklenburg County, including one in a child.

Monica Adamian, a CMS-coordinated school health specialist, said COVID-19 protocols continue to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as guidance from state and local health officials.

Adamian noted that the district halted COVID-19 quarantines for close contacts last year.

The new school year begins Monday, August 29 for the district’s more than 140,000 students across 181 campuses.

Brian Schultz, CMS chief operating officer, said 930 buses are deployed Monday morning, covering thousands of routes.

The district has 45 vacant bus driver positions, as well as 30 current drivers, according to Schultz.

CMS leaders said the district will serve about 100,000 meals a day and will continue to provide free breakfast every day.

If a student attends a school with a community eligibility provision, they will continue to receive free meals, according to staff. Other students must apply.

District officials said there are currently 100 vacancies in the nutrition department and the district has 35 new recruits in progress.

School leaders want parents to know they are doing their part to keep schools safe.

Regarding school security, CMS installed Evolv body scanners in 21 high schools this spring and placed several in schools that have more than one entrance.

Some of these schools include Hopewell, Mallard Creek, Garinger, Harding University, West Charlotte, North Mecklenburg, and Julius Chambers High School.

In addition, CMS staff closely monitor surveillance cameras inside and outside the schools. They also remind students to use the “Say Something” anonymous reporting system to report weapons, bullying and other violence. All schools have locked entrances and visitors must scan their ID to enter the main entrance.

CMS is also adding fences to various school properties.

“When you put all those things together – the fence, for the cameras, the scanners [which are] weapons detection systems, when you put all of those things together and it gives a more comprehensive approach to security,” said Chief Operating Officer Brian Schultz.

The district will release 2021-2022 state test results on September 1. Acting Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh says this shouldn’t be a “gloomy” time, but rather looking at different standards and ways to help students.

CMS is also placing more teachers in 10 of the district’s 40 underperforming schools.

WBTV will have full coverage of those scores on Thursday. September 1st.

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