Special to Iredell Free News

Iredell-Statesville Schools officials are making plans for hundreds of district employees to receive their second COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, March 24.

In anticipation that a small percentage of teachers will experience flu-like symptoms after receiving the vaccine and be unable to work, the district has opted to make Thursday, March 25, a virtual learning day for all students.

More than 1,200 I-SS teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, support staff, and substitutes received the first of two Moderna vaccines at Iredell Memorial Hospital on February 24.

I-SS employs approximately 2,500 faculty and staff. The administration realizes that an 8 to 10 percent absence rate due to sickness may make it difficult to staff all 37 campuses across the district.

Of those who receive the vaccine, many will experience some temporary reactions following the second shot. While these temporary reactions are normal and are good signs that your body is building protection, the district must be prepared for a larger than normal absence rate.

Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Billie Berry is concerned that a lack of substitutes may present staffing issues across the district.

“These are unprecedented times. We are thrilled that our employees will be fully vaccinated by the end of March. We are hopeful that holding a virtual learning day on Thursday, March 25, will get I-SS one step closer to normal,” Berry said.

All I-SS employees will report to work on March 25. Those employees who deem it necessary to stay home due to illness will take a sick day. Teachers have been encouraged to thoroughly communicate to students and parents about lessons and expectations for March 25.

The vaccine is not mandatory for I-SS employees.

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