CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – The head of Mecklenburg County Public Health is recommending COVID-19 testing and other recommendations for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools ahead of the start of the new school year.
WBTV obtained a copy of Aug. 20 letter to CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston from Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris.
Document: Click here to read the full letter
“This new school year is truly a challenging time for CMS as you begin providing an essential in-person educational experience for the many students you serve,” Harris writes. “The surge in COVID-19 cases is not making the process easy, especially given the additional steps needed to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission among CMS staff and students.”
Harris says that part of the strategy to move forward effectively with in-person instruction “hinges on risk assessment and management.”
The health director’s recommendations to Winston include hiring more staff specifically for COVID-19 response, including additional staff at the administration level and other staff at the individual school level to help with testing, contact tracing, education and linkage to the Health Department and data support.
Harris also recommends weekly testing of CMS staff who haven’t submitted proof of vaccination and availability of on-site rapid diagnostic testing for symptomatic students and staff.
Additionally, a universal mask mandate is recommended for all individuals in the school building.
“We are concerned and need a strong sense of urgency toward implementing these recommendations to ensure we start the school year ahead of the curve instead of behind it,” Harris stated.
Wednesday is the first day back to school for the more than 140,000 CMS students.
Stay with WBTV for more back-to-school updates.
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