Jackson City Schools Superintendent Phil Howard issued the following “Superintendent Update,” as of March 24, 2020:

“This past week has been a very trying time for all of us and I realize that everyone is dealing with their own special set of circumstances. Many people have been forced to close their businesses, people have lost their jobs and others are struggling with childcare. People are dealing with all of this while still trying to help their child with the school work that we are requiring of them. For this reason I want to say thank you for your patience and understanding.

“The Governor has tasked us with continuing to deliver instruction to our students. This is not an easy task to accomplish in SE Ohio with some of the obstacles that we face. Many of our students do not have internet at home so online delivery of instruction is not even possible. Even when it is, most would agree that it can’t replace the effectiveness of face to face instruction for most students. I would encourage you if you are having questions to reach out to the teachers by email with your questions. They will do their best to help you and your child in any way possible.

“We all need to realize that eventually all of this will be over and things will return to normal. What we don’t know is how long it will be. However, it is extremely important that while this is going on that our students continue to learn. We already know that students lose a lot over the summer break and we don’t want to see this magnified in the event that we are out of school for an additional few months.

“The Governor has also requested that we try to feed our students or at least make food available during the time that we are out of school. A high percentage of our students were already on free and reduced lunch and many of those people count on their children receiving a couple of meals a day while at school. We suspect that with many people losing their jobs that the need for food will be even more prevalent and those who once were expected to pay for a lunch for their child may no longer have the means to be able to do so.

“Our Board of Education has requested that we do as much as we can to try to feed as many students as possible without risking the health of our employees and the public to a large degree. I want to take this time to brag on our employees, as this is one area where we are all definitely on the same page. Our cooks, aides and bus drivers have stepped up and gone above and beyond to make this happen without any complaint.

“Prior to the ‘Stay at Home’ order all of our employees were being paid their normal wages. Our teachers were working from home and were going to meet twice weekly in face to face meetings with their principal to review things. Those meetings are now being done either by phone or in groups using technology. All of our classified staff was reporting to work as normal, with the exception of the bus drivers and aides and they had all been assigned to help with the preparation and distribution of the food.

“Since the ‘Stay at Home’ order came into effect, we have had to identify district workers who are considered “essential” and all others have been directed to work from home when it is possible. Because we are preparing and distributing food for our families, our cooks and all others assigned to help with food are considered “essential” workers.

“All of our buildings and the Central Office are currently closed with the exception of a few “essential” employees in each building or at Central Office. Our phones have been set up so that if a call comes in a message can be recorded. A District employee at each building will be checking the messages and the appropriate person will return the call in a reasonable amount of time.

“Once again, I ask that you be patient with us. Please contact us and ask if you have questions and just know that we that we are doing the best we can each and every day. We are truly all in this together.”

Jackson City School District Superintendent, Phil Howard