Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Superintendent Pam Baldwin has been placed on medical leave. Assistant Superintendent Patrick Abele is now taking her place in leading the district through the transition to at-home learning.
In an email to parents on March 25, Baldwin said her leave would take place immediately.
“Despite our best intentions, sometimes life gets in the way and modifies our plans, our calendars, our goals and our aspirations," Baldwin said. "I have been reminded of that again recently as I met with my doctor."
Baldwin shared that she intends to return as soon as her doctor allows.
The CHCCS PTA Council said it was too soon for them to comment on the change, but said they wish Abele well in leading the district as CHCCS resumes coursework. Despite the change in leadership, CHCCS said it is acting quickly to address students’ needs during the COVID-19 crisis.
Abele said the district’s first priority is distributing food to students, then establishing a call center and, finally, resuming academic work.
“Those initiatives and priorities were ongoing prior to Dr. Baldwin leaving, and I would say we're still right on track,” Abele said.
He said CHCCS has served more than 41,000 meals to date. Call center staff are available to answer questions about food services, and a support hotline will help students in grades 6-12 with concerns with technology or connectivity. The call center also has lines for academic support and counseling, so students can still access social, emotional and mental health support from social workers remotely.
This week, online learning begins for grades 6-12, and students in grades K-5 will receive take-home packets. In response to teacher feedback, Abele said the district has spent the last 10 days gathering their devices in surplus. The district has delivered laptops or wireless devices to students in grades 6-12 and will begin sending computers to students in grades 2-5 on Wednesday.
“We're trying to communicate on a regular basis to families every week, letting them know academically where we are and what is taking place for the upcoming week,” Abele said.
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