Charlotte, NC

Queen City Roundup 10/20: NC prepares to offer youths vaccines, CMS apologizes to Charlotte Catholic & more!

Collin Cunningham

By Collin Cunningham

(CHARLOTTE, NC) Good morning, Charlotte! As supply chain woes continue to plague North Carolina and the rest of the country, the FDA is preparing to authorize the Pfizer vaccine for a new age group: 5-to-11-year-olds. This Wednesday edition of the Queen City Roundup explores how health officials in the Tar Heel state are preparing for the new age rollout, in addition to stories about an unfolding controversy between Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Charlotte Catholic High School.

But wait, there's more! CMS continues to face issues in staff shortages, with the latest available numbers showing a worrisome situation. In more light-hearted fashion, we'll close out the Roundup with a few of the best Charlotte restaurants to warm up with soup.

Today is Wednesday, October 20, and here's what you need to know.

1. NC officials lay out plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccine to kids ages 5 to 11

With the FDA looking into approving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services released a four-page memo on Tuesday detailing a distribution for vaccine distributors.

Pfizer's initial goal was to have the vaccine ready for the new age bracket by the end of October, but experts now believe an approval could come as soon as Nov. 3. Once it does, various types of providers will receive doses for youths in a series of waves. The first consists of family or mass vaccination clinics, local health departments and pediatric offices that are already doling out the jabs.

All told, that first wave will see nearly 125,000 new doses enter the state. Mecklenburg County will get 13,500 and the Charlotte metro area will get 31,000.

North Carolina has yet to announce what kinds of health providers will be included in the second and third waves of the rollout. The Pfizer shot is the only vaccine authorized for children, and can only be given to those 12 or older. The FDA has not authorized the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots for use on anyone under the age of 18.

2. CMS officials apologize to Charlotte Catholic High School over offensive banner

Charlotte Catholic High School parents who were offended when the Butler High School cheerleading squad took the field with a big sign that said "privilege" in large white lettering last Friday received an apology courtesy of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials on Monday. Parents felt that the banner was a reference to white privilege at the religious school, which they said was not the case.

“Here we are at a rich white high school and they are all lucky. We have it hard. They don’t,” a parent named Melissa Swanson told WBTV. “And that’s not the case by no means. I am a single mom and I raise my son on my own and we pay for that school and work hard to be there.”

The banner incident isn't the only woe CMS currently faces, as the latest numbers show...

3. Over 500 teachers have departed Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools since August

The staff size at North Carolina's second-largest school district has been shrinking since the start of the semester, with more than 500 teachers leaving after August and another 93 pending resignation. Though 9,205 teachers remain at the district's 176 school buildings, continuing pandemic conditions may cause more to leave.

“Over the past 10 years in particular, there's just been a chipping away of benefits and extra pay incentives," CMS School Board Member Jennifer De La Jara explained a possible reason for the exodus. "And it has left many of our educators feeling undervalued and underappreciated.”

Adding to the issue is the fact that state leaders failed to meet a judge-imposed Oct. 15 deadline to address a remedial learning roadmap designed to reverse pandemic learning loss.

4. Warm up with hearty, made-from-scratch soups at several Charlotte restaurants

Soup is a bit of a weird dish, huh? It's like someone set the dial between "hearty food" and "hearty drink" just to see what would happen. If that's how the experiment happened, it was a great success. With soup being such a great transition food, what better time to enjoy it than during a transitional season like fall? Fortunately, Charlotte has over a dozen restaurants where Tar Heel residents can order made-for-scratch soup, ad the Charlotte Observer has a decent list of the best ones.

Our favorites: You can't beat a lentil soup, and the classic Ethiopian variety, Yemisir Kik Wat, offers a more nuanced take on the dish than what most Americans may be used to. Locally it can be found at Abugida Café in Plaza Midwood. The homemade chicken and dumplings soup at Dish, also in Midwood, is deserving of an honorable mention as well for its generous portions: the bowl is served as its own, well, dish.

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I cover the city of Charlotte, North Carolina for NewsBreak's Creator Program. Check back often for daily headline roundups to learn what's happening in the Queen City!

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