Special to Iredell Free News

Iredell-Statesville Schools officials are preparing to close all of the district’s campuses to everyone except for essential staff members to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In a news releases, district officials said the novel coronavirus crisis warrants an “enhanced response.”

Public health officials and professionals from the medical community advise that community transmission of the virus is taking place across the state.  As of Friday morning, there were 137 reported cases across the state, including two in Iredell County.

To further promote social distancing, I-SS will likely begin to close all campuses during the week of March 23 and allow the majority of staff to work remotely. Students are schedule begin working remotely on Monday.

“Our focus this week has been on getting our remote learning plan in place, ensuring that meals were provided for children in the community and putting a plan in place to provide emergency childcare for essential Iredell County health and emergency service personnel,” I-SS Superintendent Brady Johnson said. “I would like to sincerely thank our parents and students for their patience and support as we have focused on these three goals.

“While serving the needs of our students remains our top priority, we must also focus on the health and well-being of our 2,700 staff members,” Johnson added. “As we prepare to close our campuses, please keep in mind that our goal is to continue to provide services for our students while promoting social distancing with our employees.”

Personnel who will continue to work in their normal setting includes the following individuals:
● Individuals preparing meals for pick-up and daily delivery; 
● Bus drivers that deliver meals to students in need;
● Childcare workers who are supervising the children of essential emergency care workers in our community; 
● Central Support staff members on a rotating schedule from the following departments: Human Resources; Finance; Maintenance (as scheduled); Technology (as needed); and Transportation; and 
● One building level administrator per campus at sites where there is remote feeding and childcare (rotation schedule to be developed).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The district provided the following information to guide employees:

● All certified and classified staff remain on call, and may be required to return to work on-campus for various essential duties.

● If schools have successfully deployed technology and provided materials to students, schools can begin the process of shutting down the campus until further notice.

● Employees who can work remotely should make every reasonable effort to acquire resources needed to perform their work.

● If an employee is not participating in the virtual workday, he or she may use appropriate leave if necessary (Policy #7550).

● Some work cannot be done remotely. District administration has expanded online training to ​five days​ for all employees. The goal is to give all employees opportunities to work remotely when able.

● School campuses will close and essential business and specific work functions will move to remote locations, with the exception of school nutrition hubs and childcare facilities. Schools will continue to serve the public with reasonable requests from a remote location and/or via conference calls, etc.

● Senior leadership staff from the Race Street Office, ADR Education Center, Facilities and Planning, Child Nutrition, and Transportation/Bus Garage will continue to work on-site.

● Employees will be required to electronically sign the virtual workday document that outlines the expectations surrounding remote work.

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