CMS ‘hurrication’ ends Tuesday, as schools reopen after three Florence closing days

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students will return to class Tuesday, the district announced Monday. But that will immediately be followed by a scheduled teacher work day off on Wednesday.

And Carmel Middle School will remain closed for students and staff Tuesday because the storm caused “severe damage” to the school’s power supply, CMS and Principal LeDuan Pratt said late Monday afternoon.

Evacuation shelters set up last week at East Mecklenburg, West Mecklenburg, North Mecklenburg, South Mecklenburg and Ardrey Kell high schools were being moved Monday to county recreation centers, CMS said.

Central Piedmont Community College also announced Monday that students would return to a regular schedule on Tuesday. Students who drive to the central campus were warned to allow extra time for finding parking, because a shelter being moved to the Grady Cole Center would partly fill the lots.

Monday marked the third day CMS students have been out of school because of Florence, which started as a hurricane off the Carolinas coast, leading some wags to talk about the “hurrication.”

Last Wednesday, as the Red Cross began setting up evacuation shelters in schools, the district decided to play it safe and cancel school Thursday and Friday. The weather turned out to be fine those days, with the storm reaching the Charlotte area over the weekend.

The district has not announced makeup days, but the first three scheduled days are Dec. 19, the first day of winter break; Jan. 2, the last day of winter break; and Jan. 22, a teacher work day that follows the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Superintendent Clayton Wilcox can waive some makeup days, but only eight are scheduled and the likelihood of snow days lies ahead. Even though it will mean a start-and-stop return to school, Wednesday’s teacher work day won’t be changed because it’s not on the makeup schedule, the district said. It is also the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

While many streets were clear and many neighborhoods undamaged as the sun broke through Monday, downed trees and power outages remain. CMS staff and contractors are working with Duke Energy to try to get streets cleared and power restored so schools will be fit for use Tuesday, the district said.

“The district appreciates the cooperation of everyone in Charlotte-Mecklenburg as we collaborated during this emergency event,” the CMS statement says. “CMS extends deep condolences to our neighbors and fellow community members who have suffered tragic losses during Hurricane Florence.”

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