Iredell-Statesville Schools updated the Board of Education on its COVID-19 protocols concerning remote learning, child nutrition and emergency child care at a called board meeting Friday.
Board Chairman Martin Page commended I-SS staff throughout the district on their response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is truly a team effort attributed to all 2,700 employees,” Page said.
With Gov. Roy Cooper extending the cancellation of in-person instruction statewide for public schools until May 15, I-SS executive director of kindergarten through fifth-grade curriculum Jon Ribbeck and I-SS executive director of secondary education Kelly Cooper updated the board on the district’s plans for remote learning learning going forward.
Ribbeck said that for this past week they have been reaching out to families without internet access and trying to get them that access. He also said that they have been giving devices to families who need them.
I-SS Executive Director of Technology and Media Services David Edwards said that the area with the most need in terms of internet access is northern Iredell County.
Ribbeck said that there has been an adjustment for teachers in adapting to online teaching.
“This is a challenge. For some of our teachers, this is not something they’ve ever done before,” Ribbeck said.
He also said that teachers are focusing on the most important teaching standards as online teaching will not allow them as much flexibility as in-person instruction.
“We know we’re not gonna be able to spend full days with our students,” Ribbeck said. “What will have the biggest impact moving forward? That’s what we’re focused on.”
Cooper encouraged families with out-of-date contact information to get in touch with the school system as I-SS has not been able to reach some of them.
I-SS director of child nutrition Tina Wilson commended staff, including bus drivers that have delivered meals, for their work in providing food to students.
“School nutrition is honored and proud of the work we’ve seen across our district in the last two weeks. It has been phenomenal what I have witnessed,” Wilson said.
Wilson updated the board on several waivers that have made providing nutrition to students easier.
One waiver allows I-SS to feed children outside of a group setting.
Another waiver allows switching from breakfast and lunch to summer feeding where the district can feed ages 18 and under at no cost to the family, Wilson said.
That age is 22 for early college students.
Another waiver allows I-SS to feed children not enrolled in the school district, Wilson said.
There’s also a waiver that allows parents to pick up meals curbside without their children with them.
Wilson said that 53,979 meals have been prepared for students as of Thursday.
Emergency child care
I-SS Director of Prime Time Grover Linebarger gave number amounts, as of Friday, of who is utilizing the emergency child care services for essential employees at Woodland Heights Elementary, Lakeshore Elementary, Troutman Elementary, Cloverleaf Elementary and Celeste Henkel Elementary.
There are six children being served at Cloverleaf, one at Lakeshore, one at Troutman and five at Woodland Heights.
Linebarger said that the other sites are not being utilized.
He said staff at those sites are still there from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. just in case someone signs up for the service that day. They are also assisting in delivering meals to students.
“This situation, it’s tough,” Linebarger said “But it’s bringing out what’s really in all of us. That’s the good.”