5 Iredell-Statesville schools go to virtual learning due to spread of COVID-19

IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. — Lakeshore Middle School reported Thursday that 39% of its student body is sick or quarantined due to COVID-19. Therefore, the school is going to virtual learning from Sept. 3 through Sept. 10.

Faculty and staff will still go to work that week.

The Iredell-Statesville Schools district also announced that four other schools will go to virtual learning until Sept. 10.

  • East Iredell Middle School
  • West Iredell Middle School
  • North Iredell High School
  • Central Elementary School

Statement from ISS:

“Our number one priority is to continue with face-to-face learning. Sending students home will hopefully mitigate the spread of COVID and allow us to come back healthy on Sep. 13, 2021.

“Iredell-Statesville Schools operated on an ‘optional mask’ policy until Tuesday, Aug. 31, when the Board Of Education mandated masks beginning on Sept. 2.

“We are hopeful that the mandated mask policy will allow us to get back into the classrooms and reduce the spread of COVID as well as the number of close contacts. When individuals aren’t masked or vaccinated, the quarantine rules inhibit our ability to keep kids in classrooms.

“While our community is utterly divided on the topic of masks, I believe that most of us agree that students need to be in the classroom. That’s our primary goal.”

At this time, 39% of the student body at Lakeshore Middle is sick or quarantined. There are 27 active COVID cases...

Posted by Iredell-Statesville Schools on Thursday, September 2, 2021

Data on the Iredell Health Department’s website showed on Sept. 2 that there were more than 23,000 COVID-19 cases in the county.

Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill earlier in the week that gives school districts flexibility to choose remote learning because of the coronavirus.

The bill also allows schools to offer virtual instruction for up to five days a year for emergencies, such as weather or power outages that would keep a school from opening. It also requires school boards to vote once a month on its school mask policy.

>> Read more about the bill here.

The South Carolina Supreme Court on Sept. 2 upheld the state ban on mask mandates. The court ruled that the city of Columbia’s mask mandate conflicts with state law.

>> Read more about the court ruling here.

(Story published Aug.30) ‘My kid slipped through the cracks’: Mom angry, frustrated after daughter gets COVID

A local mother is furious after she said her daughter, who attends Iredell-Statesville Schools, contracted COVID-19. Lakeshore Middle School was hit hard by the virus, and she told Channel 9 she’s upset about how the district handled it.

“My kid slipped through the cracks and she has exposed other people over the weekend because we did not know she was a close contact,” said the mom, who did not want to be identified.

[ALSO READ: Cooper signs bill allowing school districts to decide on remote learning due to COVID-19 exposures]

“Yesterday, I noticed that she was clearing her throat a lot; no other symptoms,” she told Channel 9. “She did complain of a headache. She was clearing her throat. And this morning, she woke up with a temperature of 101.5.”

The mother said that nine of 33 students in her daughter’s social studies class were in school on Friday. She believes the rest of the students were being quarantined and is angry that no one called her to tell her that her daughter was a close contact.

She believes her daughter’s positive test indicates she was in close contact with someone with COVID-19.

[COUNTY BY COUNTY: Local school districts’ mask-wearing policies]

“We’re five days into this and now multiple kids are quarantined,” she said.

She told Channel 9 it was a mistake not to make mask-wearing mandatory to begin with.

“With these kids, the only protection they have is a mask,” she said. “My daughter is 11 years old. She doesn’t have an option to get a vaccine.”

Gov. Roy Cooper signed a bill Monday that makes it easier for districts to switch to virtual learning if conditions worsen.

Now that most school districts are back in session, we’re starting to see COVID cases creeping up, and that’s causing district leaders to reconsider mask policies.

Iredell-Statesville Schools is one of several local districts that has a mask-optional policy. Late Monday afternoon, the district contacted parents to tell them that masks will be mandatory at Lakeshore Middle starting on Tuesday.

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The email to parents states the district’s top priority is to have face-to-face school for all students.

“Large numbers of quarantines are limiting our ability to do that,” officials said.

The district’s COVID-19 dashboard indicates:

  • School staff in quarantine or isolation: 51
  • Students in quarantine or isolation: 1,045

ISS held an emergency meeting on Tuesday and voted to make masks mandatory.

(Watch the video below: ‘It’s about the science’: Parents push for Iredell-Statesville Schools to mandate masks)