Special to Iredell Free News

In an effort to provide parents and guardians of school-age children with care options during the upcoming school year, Iredell-Statesville Schools is searching for community organizations and volunteers who can provide a safe space for children to go during what would have been their normal school day.

I-SS will reopen under its Plan B, meaning most students will attend school two days each week and receive remote instruction on the other days. While I-SS is working to extend onsite district options, there is still a need to support students during virtual learning days so that parents/guardians can work.

“We realize that our parents need to work. Ideally, we would love for all our students to be in one of our buildings every day in the fall but that is not our reality. We have made it our mission to alleviate as many stressors for our parents as we can, including childcare options,” said Stacy Williams, director of GEAR UP and Community Support for I-SS.

The goal for these sites is to provide a safe space for children to go during what would have been their normal school day. Sites should have volunteers that will help children with their schoolwork to the best of their abilities, as they will not all be licensed educators. District officials hope these sites function as similarly to an educational establishment as possible.

If you can volunteer your time, or if you are an organization that can volunteer space, please fill out the necessary forms to help the youth of our community make this school year as normal as possible.

“These sites are not all licensed by the state nor are they all affiliated with Iredell-Statesville Schools. We are requesting that all sites follow the same health protocols that are required in each of our school buildings to include wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. Additionally, we request that each employee/volunteer undergo background checks” Williams provided.

United Way is working with the district to find child-care solutions.

“For a lot of families missing even one paycheck can create an economic crisis,” Executive Director Brett Eckerman said. “Many will have to ask themselves: Do I stay home and care for my child? Do I go to work? We knew early on that it was essential for us to assist with this project in any way that we can. At United Way, it is our charge to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every family in our community.”

If you need additional assistance outside of childcare during these times, please contact NC 2-1-1, a free 24/7 call center for health and human services by visiting nc211.org or by dialing the three digit line at 2-1-1.

Organizations that can provide a safe and supervised solution are asked to complete the 2020-2021  Directory Listing Agreement found at https://www.iredellnc.com/pages/childcarelistingagreement for consideration.

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