JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown Public Schools Superintendent says the district will be transitioning to remote learning following the upcoming Thanksgiving break in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker in a statement to the media on Friday says remote learning will take place from November 30 to December 4.
Then, he says, the school will return to its hybrid schedule from December 7 through December 22.
The district then plans a second week of remote learning following Winter Recess from January 4 through January 8.
“These measures are a collaborative effort between our school board, the Chautauqua County Department of Health and JPS personnel,” said Dr. Whitaker in a statement. “We know the holidays will be a time that families may gather. We want to ensure the health and safety of our students, staff and community by providing additional time at home in hopes of keeping a COVID-19 surge from happening in our schools.”
The Superintendent says he wants school to remain safe and to be open as much as possible.
During fully remote instruction weeks for the district, teaching and learning will continue as regularly scheduled for each student. If students have concerns about Internet access during the fully remote weeks, families should contact their school principal for help and information.
The district will continue to provide childcare for students in kindergarten through sixth grades through the YMCA and YWCA. Grab and Go school meals will continue to be available for free to all students. More detailed information on childcare and school meals will be forthcoming.
In addition to proactively helping the spread of COVID-19 in our community, the fully remote instructions weeks after Thanksgiving and Christmas will give JPS students, staff and families an opportunity to practice in the case that the district must go fully remote in the future by state health department metrics, or by Executive Order.
“We very much want to bring back our JHS 10th through 12th graders in December,” said Dr. Whitaker. “Whether we can do this depends on our ability to limit the spread of the virus in our community. This plan will allow us to open up a period between Thanksgiving and winter recess to slowly bring them back to in-person instruction, while keeping them safe.”
Whitaker says he knows this has been an important concern for high school students and families, and hopes to start this transition in December, depending on health metrics and guidance from New York State and the Health Department.