FROM STAFF REPORTS
Iredell-Statesville Schools administrators want to use grant funds to hire 33 temporary employees to help district nurses with contact tracing and other duties related to COVID-19.
More than 3,500 students were quarantined or isolated last week after exhibiting symptoms or due to contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Four district schools are closed to in-person learning this week due to the number of COVID-19 quarantines and positive tests.
Tracking down who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and handing parental notification for that many cases has been taxing on school nurses, who have been working long hours and weekends to try to prevent further spread. Other school staff members, including district-level administrators, have been pulled away from the normal jobs to help.
Boen Nutting, the district’s Chief Strategic Planning and Student Services Officer, told the I-SS board last week that the district has been awarded a $2.2 million grant from the N.C. Department of Health & Human Services.
That funding could be used to pay for the temporary nurse extenders, who would receive full-time pay and benefits, to help the school nurses. Funds could also be used to pay a stipend to district nurses who work extra hours and weekends, Nutting said. In addition, the grant funds could be used for COVID-19 testing.
The I-SS board is scheduled to vote on whether to accept the grant funds when the board meets at 6 p.m. on Monday, September 13, at the Career Academy & Technical School located at 350 Old Murdock Road in Troutman.
New school name, colors up for consideration
In other business, the school board is also expected to vote on the name of the district’s new high school off Overcash Road.
After reviewing hundreds of suggestions, a committee tasked with recommending new names and colors for the school pitched the names Weathers Creek STEM School and Weathers Creek STEM Academy as the top choices.
During last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting, several school board members expressed their preference for Weathers Creek High School. If the district wants to emphasize the science, technology, engineering and math curriculum, a subhead such as “A STEM Academy” could be added to the name, board members said.
The committee recommended purple and gold or gold and black as possible school colors.
Students are expected to be involved in recommending a school mascot.
Funding for architectural plans for Harmony Elementary and Lake Norman Elementary expansions
Also during Monday’s meeting, the board is scheduled to vote on allocating funding for architectural plans for a new fourth and fifth grade wing at Harmony Elementary and a new gymnasium for Lake Norman Elementary.
These projects are likely several years from construction but district administrators recommended proceeding with the architectural plans so they will be shovel ready when the funds are available.
Both projects were included in a 2007 bond referendum, but they were delayed when the bond funds were spent, Chairman Martin Page said.
“Both of these projects are past due really,” board member Bill Howell said. “This is something we need to move on as quick as we can.”
The cost of the architectural work is estimated to be a total of $500,000 for both schools.