(FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – Thousands of students are due back Monday across 16 school districts in the Charlotte-area for in-person learning with the start of the traditional 2021-2022 calendar year.
Although some school systems have had students in classes for year-round education, Monday marks the largest return of children to in-person learning in the region since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
In Union County, one of the largest districts without a mask mandate, students are returning to school on Monday. The decision to make face masks optional came in July 2021.
FOX 46 saw a number of students show up Monday morning, some wearing masks while others choosing not to. There will be no penalty in Union County for not wearing one, officials said.
The Union County NAACP is asking questions though.
What will happen if there is an outbreak?
Will parents eventually have a virtual option, like last year?
So far, Union County Public Schools has not mentioned a virtual option for the 2021-2022 school year. There are 53 schools in the district and more than 40,000 students, so there are varying opinions on the ‘right thing to do.’ One school in Union County, a charter school called Union Academy, is requiring students to mask up because schools started last month, and they’ve already had a COVID outbreak.
Over in Gaston County, schools will welcome at least 29,000 students and 1,900 teachers back. It’s the first year back with students and teachers in person since the pandemic.
Now, the start of the school year appears to be besieged by the harsh delta variant of COVID-19 and school bus driver shortages.