The Charleston School Board unanimously voted to shift to remote learning in an emergency meeting Friday morning, at least through the first nine-week quarter, in part because COVID cases have risen locally over the past few weeks.

The Board also approved a new start date for remote learning: Aug. 31, two weeks later than originally scheduled. School will still conclude June 4, 2021.

At that time, the Board stated, district officials will re-evaluate coronavirus case data and risk levels.

The Board said the delay was necessary to provide training to students and families on Empower, a new learning management system.

“In the coming weeks,” the Board statement reads, “we will provide more information about how students and families will be provided with necessary technology, training and important information about remote learning guidelines. We recognize that, while not surprising, this news is distressing to many in our school community. We understand this presents a hardship to families searching for child care and balancing work and remote learning commitments. We remain dedicated to all students and will continue to strive to meet all students’ educational needs during these times.”

Fall sports will still take place for Charleston middle and high schools.

The decision by the CUSD1 Board to switch to remote learning for the first nine-week quarter does not alter the district’s original plans to field teams in girls tennis, boys and girls cross country, girls swimming and boys and girls golf.

If the area elevates to Phase 4, the state or IHSA could possibly step in.