Mecklenburg County Parents, Teachers and Students Preparing for In-Person Pre-K

CHARLOTTE, NC — Learning for hundreds of Mecklenburg county Pre-K students will take place in-person. 

The MECK Pre-K program is county-funded and operates within four and five-star child care facilities. It’s slated to begin on August 17th. 

“They’ve been fairly successful doing that; we’ve had a couple of clusters in childcare settings. But it hasn’t been a large number,” said County Health Director Gibbie Harris. 

Harris says she worked closely with MECK Pre-K to devise their plan.

According to a release from MECK Pre-K, there will be reduced class sizes, limited people in buildings, health screenings, enhanced cleaning protocols, and more. 

“This may give us an opportunity to see how well that works and to inform what the schools can do,” said Harris.

“The reality of this is that it has got to be safe, and the infection level in our community is too high right now,” said County Commissioner Susan Harden.

Harden says students are returning to in-person instruction too soon. She says teachers should have had more impact on the decision.

“It really doesn’t take into account the expertise of the teachers and knowing what’s really good for the students,” said Harden.

As MECK Pre-K prepares to welcome students, the state has identified two more child care centers in Mecklenburg county with COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Parents and staff at Building Blocks Learning Center declined to talk to WCCB. Seven staff members and three children have recently tested positive for COVID-19. 

The state reported 11 cases at Little Tots Preschool last week. And last month, three other centers including Smart Kids Childcare Center #3,  Heaven’s Angels Childcare, and Kindercare on Providence all reported multiple cases. 

It’s not known if MECK Pre-K plans to operate within any of these facilities.

The county also lifted income requirements for MECK Pre-K enrollment.