Phil Howard

Phil Howard is shown addressing the Jackson Board of Education on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, about upcoming school trips and safety of students in the wake of COVID-19 in the United States.

JACKSON — The Jackson City School District is having to make some tough decisions in response to confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the state.

During the Jackson City School District Board of Education on Tuesday, March 10, Jackson City Schools Superintendent Phil Howard spoke to the board regarding upcoming trips out of district.

"Everyone is probably worn out from hearing about the Coronavirus, but I fear its probably only beginning," stated Howard. "We have been having meetings in the district talking about, in the event, if we would be forced to shutdown, we are prepared."

Howard added, "I think if that would happen we would be in a pretty good situation, but more pressing right now, are these overnight trips out of state. In some of these cases we have to pay money in advance."

Trip: Washington D.C. - 6th grade trip in May 2020 - POSTPONED until next year, 2021.  

Trip: New York City - Jackson High School Choir trip during spring break (April 2-9, 2020) Choir has already paid $41,000 in advance - PENDING decision

Trip: South Carolina (Myrtle Beach) - Jackson High School Baseball Team - spring break (April 2-9, 2020) Team has already paid $2,000 in advance - PENDING decision

Trips in the state of Ohio will be addressed as they get closer. Other large school activities, such as the school musical and prom may get postponed.

"The Jackson City Schools is working on a preparedness plan in the event that we would be forced to close school for an extended period," stated Howard. "There are currently no plans to close school at this time."

Howard added, "If we would be forced to close for an extended time, plans are now in place to provide our student with coursework to complete while we are not is session."

Howard went on to talk about three options if they happen to shutdown.

  • Option 1: Chromebook Take-Home - In the event that school will be closed for an extended time, a Chromebook and charger would be sent home with the student to use during the closure. The student would access coursework via home internet connection or by going to a location with available WiFi. Plans are in place to make WiFi available in the parking area of each building so that you could park and let your students complete work from your car if needed.
  • Option 2: Work online using your own technology (no Chromebook needed) - This option states that a parent would not want a Chromebook sent home with the student, but you have technology available at home such a PC, laptop, Chromebook, iPad, or other device that the student can access online content.
  • Option 3: Coursework in paper form - This option means that no technology will be sent home with the student and the parent would prefer that the student be given all coursework via paper to be completed and returned to the school when classes resume.

"Fortunately, our high school students have all previously been provided with a district issued Chromebook," explained Howard. "The majority of our high school teachers and staff are well versed in the use of technology, particularly as it relates to online learning opportunities."

Howard added, "Many of our K-9 teachers will plan to use technology to enhance the learning that can go on in your home during this time. We are providing three options listed below for grades k-8. Once again, as of this moment there is no plan to close school. However, it is important to understand that we could be directed by the Governor, Health Department, or Ohio Department of Education to close the schools at any time. We would be remiss to not have a plan in place in the we have to close."

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