Jamestown Schools Open Successfully, Grapple With COVID
Superintendent Kevin Whitaker said the school year has gotten off to a great start, despite the looming challenge of the pandemic.
After Tuesday’s Jamestown Public Schools District Board of Education meeting, Whitaker gave a brief update on the state of the schools. He said everything has been going very well, and praised the students, parents and staff that have contributed to the successful start.
“One of the things we’re struggling with is the continued increase of COVID cases, and that’s natural when you have a lot of people returning to one location you’re going to have a lot of reports of cases,” Whitaker said. “At this point, knock on wood, we haven’t had any cases reported that have been caused in school. We have had quarantines as a result, but what we’re hoping is that people remember what we did in the past to mitigate the issues related to COVID spread and do all of those things all over again so we can make sure that we keep kids in school full-time, face-to-face all year.”
He said wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and handwashing are imperative to manage COVID-19 in schools. The district has developed a daily update page on their website to update families on the daily totals of COVID-19 cases in the district, which can be viewed at: www.jpsny.org/confirmedcases.
According to the daily update page, on Sept. 12, there were three new cases of COVID-19 with two students at Jamestown High School and one student at Persell Middle School. On Sept. 13, there were seven new cases, including six students at Jamestown High School, and one employee at C.C. Ring Elementary School. On Sept. 14, four cases of COVID-19 were confirmed, including students at Fletcher Elementary, C.C. Ring Elementary, Persell Middle School, and Jamestown High School.
In other news, the board heard a presentation from Brad Myers, the new JPS School Safety Advisor on a proposed district-wide safety plan. The plan focuses on preventing or minimizing the effects of serious violent incidents and emergencies, and facilitating the coordination of the district with local and county resources if these instances occur. The plan is available to the public here: https://www.jpsny.org/safetyplan.
Meyers will review and update the district’s safety plan every year. In his new position, he will coordinate all safety training, educational materials and guidance in promoting awareness on a variety of safety issues and promoting prevention programs, ensuring that JPS complies with state and federal safety regulations. He will also conduct workshops with staff, students and families about important safety issues, and provide consultation and assistance for schools’ safety needs including drills, inspections and crisis response plans.