BY KARISSA MILLER

While Iredell-Statesville Schools officials are hopeful that they can get back to a more regular schedule next school year, students will still have the opportunity to continue learning in a 100 percent virtual environment during the 2021-2022 school year.

Superintendent Jeff James said that the State of North Carolina is requiring all districts to provide a virtual learning option for the upcoming school year.

“That doesn’t mean we cannot corral what we allow,” James explained.

“We know that virtual doesn’t work (for all students). It may work for 2 or 3 percent of students out there that can do it on their own anyway, but it doesn’t work for the average student,” he added.

I-SS officials estimate that 120 students in kindergarten through fifth grade will remain virtual, along with 70 students in middle and high school.

Executive Director of Elementary Education Jonathan Ribbeck shared with the school board the district’s virtual plan for the next school year during their school board meeting Monday night.

Students who wish to continue learning remotely must agree to meet specific requirements and guidelines.

“We are making it a lot stricter with virtual. You will have to apply to be virtual and the administration will accept or deny based on how a student has done previously with their work on attendance and other factors,” Ribbeck explained.

The application process is for all K-12 students, and a student readiness assessment will be required for students in grades 6-12. The assessment must be completed and submitted to an application team prior to a student being granted access to virtual instruction.

Applications and readiness assessment scores are being collected throughout June, with decisions being made on accepted students early July.

Virtual Guidelines

Other guidelines include:

• Students in secondary grades cannot have any grades below a C in any virtual course prior to 2021-2022.

• I- SS Virtual Academy students are required to transfer from their current school and be registered with their new school in Power School.

• Students are giving up access to extracurricular activities with the only exception being athletics at their current school.

• Once students are accepted to attend I-SS Virtual Academy they must wait until designated checkpoints to transfer back to their traditional school.

• Elementary students must be logged on daily from 7:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

• Secondary students must login daily and commit to spending a minimum of 45 minutes for middle school and 90 minutes for high school for each course.

• State assessments remain an expectation and will be completed in a secure environment,

• Parents must commit to monitoring student performance and responding to their child’s teacher through virtual means when requested.

District leaders say these changes are being made to ensure that teachers who provide face-to-face instruction are no longer trying to provide remote instruction simultaneously.

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