Full statement from CMS:
CMS families, staff, students, partners and community members,
Together, we can be the neighbors we teach our students to be.
As Hurricane Florence draws closer, CMS schools will be closed for students and staff on Thursday, September 13 and Friday, September 14 to protect the safety of students, staff, families and community members.
All CMS athletic practices, games and events are cancelled for Thursday (9/13), Friday (9/14) and Saturday (9/15). Extracurricular activities and field trips scheduled for September 13 or September 14 are cancelled. Before school and after school enrichment programs (ASEP) are cancelled.
Make-up days will be designated a later time. These days are designated Code C for CMS employees.
A number of factors and expert guidance from education, weather, emergency preparedness and law enforcement experts informed this decision.
1. Hurricane Florence is dangerous, unpredictable and safety is the priority. Because Hurricane Florence is a very powerful and dangerous storm affecting our entire state, a state of emergency has been declared across North Carolina. Weather and emergency planning experts have advised everyone to prepare for widespread impacts within the next 3-5 days.
2. Hurricane Florence has forced evacuations to emergency shelters and we must consider safety in new ways. CMS is proud to serve our state and region by opening several CMS school campuses as emergency shelters led by the Red Cross in partnership with other agencies. Emergency shelters open today for evacuees at CMS high school campuses including East Mecklenburg, South Mecklenburg, North Mecklenburg, Olympic and Ardrey Kell. Emergency shelters at additional schools may be opened.
These emergency shelters are staffed and provisioned by the Red Cross with support from partner agencies to meet shelter, medical, nutrition, comfort, safety and security needs. CMPD and CMS-PD are supporting shelters with officers, equipment and communications assistance.
CMS believes that supporting our neighbors in need is the right thing to do for our state, community and people affected by Hurricane Florence. With safety as a priority, the district considered security, maintenance, traffic and staffing needs at shelters as a part of the decision-making process. Very heavy traffic during evacuations is difficult to predict and could significantly impact and delay CMS transportation and other operations.
3. Hurricane Florence is predicted to have catastrophic impact in the Carolinas. A weather system and emergency of this magnitude require CMS to consider a variety of factors in addition to local weather conditions and direct impacts in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Many of CMS’ 19,000 employees live in surrounding and more rural counties. CMS teachers and staff, and over 147,000 student families, have other family members, loved ones and pets now being evacuated from coastal Carolina areas.
4. Hurricane Florence challenges effective teaching and learning. Every day is important in education. Uncertainty about weather, transportation, housing, access to power, safety and security are significant distractions to teaching and learning. Make-up days will be designated a later time.
CMS will continue to update families, students, staff and the community through Connect phone call messages in English and Spanish, CMS website, CMS social media on Facebook and Twitter, e-mails and the CMS mobile app.
All North Carolina residents are advised by authorities to prepare for impacts of Hurricane Florence. CMS encourages families to stay connected throughout this declared emergency and prepare with critical contact information, fully fueled vehicles, stored water, non-perishable food, prescriptions, flashlights, fresh batteries, radios and pet supplies at home. Special care should be given to young children, the elderly and those who are without a permanent home. Further preparation information and sign-up for emergency alerts are available at charmeckalerts.organd readync.org.
Thank you for your support of education, our schools and the community.