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Whitaker: Reopening Of Schools Will Be Done In The Safest Way

Dear JPS Community:

With the reopening of schools just days away, I want to assure the community that Jamestown Public Schools is excited and ready to welcome our students back for the 2020-21 school year. Whether students are attending in-person, remotely or a combination of the two, we are excited to get our kids into the back-to-school routine. I would like to take this opportunity to give you an update on some of the important aspects of our reopening plan. Please know that our number one priority continues to be the health and safety of our students and staff, followed closely by providing the best academic experience possible for our students.

As I have shared before, a committee of over 50 people representing all areas of Jamestown schools came together over the summer and accomplished a huge lift in a very short period of time. They were charged with devising a plan that would prioritize the health and safety of our staff and students, and meet all of the voluminous guidance from the state Department of Health, the governor’s office and the NYS Education Department, while still providing the quality instruction and school routines that we know our kids need the most. We released our reopening plan along with more specific details about the learning models that we will use to start the school year as described on this page. The reopening plan also includes modifications implemented due to feedback provided through the participation of over 2,800 parents, students, and staff in our community stakeholder survey.

Please know that this is only a beginning-of-the-school-year reopening plan. Our principals and staff have been hard at work over these past few weeks getting everything ready in our buildings. We have every intention of getting our students back into classrooms and regular school routines as soon as we can, based on guidelines from the NYS Department of Health and Department of Education. I would like nothing better than to see all of our kids in our classrooms full-time. Be assured that we will continually review, at all grade levels, to determine if and when we can continue to progress our reopening by adding additional students or other modifications based on circumstances at the time. We hope to have some of our JHS students return sooner than others, as there are classes such as Advanced Placement or “singleton” elective classes, where it may be possible to phase students back into the classroom safely.

We also understand the stress and pressure that working parents are feeling during this time. We are providing childcare options for working parents of students in grades PK-6 who attend school half days and full remote days to help ease that anxiety. “Grab and Go” school meals will also begin on September 8th. More details about childcare and grab and go meals are also provided on this page.

I encourage you to review our reopening information at www.jpsny.org/reopening, which includes information on the learning models, fact sheets with information on topics we know to be important to our school community, fact sheets specific to each school that explain our new school routines, and informational videos about important topics such as temperature checks, wearing masks, transportation and remote learning.

I know that this is a difficult and anxious time for many. We are here to help you through any concerns or questions you might have about the reopening of schools. If you do have questions about your school’s reopening plan, please contact your school principal directly or send them to questions@jpsny.org. We are available and eager to help you through this challenging time.

I also want to thank our community for the support that you have shown during this challenging time. I am certain that with the help of everyone working together, we will ensure that the reopening of schools is done in the safest way for all members of our school community and we can soon welcome back all of our students with open arms.

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