MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Earnest Winston said all field trips within and outside Mecklenburg County are canceled indefinitely as the Coronavirus continues to spread across the country and Carolinas.
"We are suspending all travel outside Mecklenburg county for students and staff," said Winston at Tuesday's school board meeting.
After a clarification, CMS said all field trips and staff conferences or travel inside or outside of Mecklenburg County would be canceled.
However, competitions such as sport, band, or theater competitions could still go on for the time being.
"We are suspending all travel outside Mecklenburg County for students and staff," he said.
It comes on the heels of a state of emergency being declared in North Carolina by Governor Roy Cooper.
Earlier Tuesday, CMS said they were canceling all trips to high-risk areas as a result of coronavirus concerns.
A group of Piedmont Middle School students had flown out to New York City on Tuesday, although a state of emergency had been declared for New York days prior. CMS says the trip has been suspended, and students will return home to Charlotte as soon as possible.
Latasha Anderson and her son, Piedmont Middle School student Logan Anderson, left Tuesday morning for New York City on the field trip.
"The thought is in my mind, I'm not fearful of it, we're well prepared," she said before she departed for New York.
The head of CMS acknowledged a lack of communication.
"We are going back to examine our processes, and we'll make changes to improve processes and communications," Winston said.
Those students arrived back Tuesday evening, according to a district spokeswoman.
Wednesday morning, CMS will be talking with other large districts in North Carolina to determine how to handle any upcoming competitions, athletic or otherwise.
CMS said the district is talking "regularly and frequently" with Mecklenburg County health officials to determine if any other measures need to be taken in light of coronavirus concerns.
Superintendent Winston said he understands the field trip ban can create a hardship for families who spent money on them.
He said the district would work with families and vendors.
On Wednesday, another group of students will leave Washington, D.C. to come back to Charlotte, by bus. They were on a field trip to see historical monuments and museums. It's unclear if the trip was cut short.
Other school districts cancelling trips include:
- Gaston County Schools has canceled out-of-state and overnight school field trips as well as international travel by school groups
- Cabarrus County has cancelled all international and out-of-county field trips
- Union County Public Schools has cancelled all school sponsored field trips for students and out-of-district professional development for staff
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