COVID-19 – April 2 – Message from Dr. Howard

UPDATED April 2, 2020

From our superintendent, Dr. April Howard …

Dear Jackson County Families, 

Yesterday, Governor Brian Kemp announced an executive order mandating all schools to remain closed for in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. 

We understand this announcement brings many feelings of uncertainty and disappointment. Please know that we, too, are experiencing a range of emotions and are working hard to make the best of this situation. We have included several important updates below as a result of this announcement.

We will continue to update you as new information is made available.

Jackson County will continue to use distance learning through May 22.

Distance Learning

Following spring break, all schools will continue using distance learning for the remainder of the school year. We are so proud of the way our students, teachers, parents, and support staff have responded to this unique learning experience over the past three weeks.

Now that we know we will be using this format for the remainder of the year, we want to take your feedback and adapt to ensure it is manageable and sustainable for the rest of the year. Please take a minute to complete the parent survey, which can be accessed via your Infinite Campus parent portal.  Your teachers will keep students posted on expectations and additional guidance. There will be no Milestones, End-of-Course, End-of-Grade or MAP testing this year. In addition, AP tests will be delivered online. 

Internet Access

Jackson County Technology department is working with school leaders and teachers to ensure students have sufficient internet connectivity.  Jackson EMC Foundation supported the implementation of mobile, high-powered hot spots that will be placed in strategic locations throughout the county.  We will work directly with individual families to provide the best possible solution for each.

Nutrition Service

During spring break, April 6-10, iServe Ministries will provide support to families in need.   Jackson County meal service will not be provided during the break; however, beginning April 13, the district will resume meal service for students with pickups available on Mondays and Thursdays. 

Prom/Graduation

We know that this is especially hard for members of the Senior Class of 2020. This is not how they envisioned ending their high school career, and we want to do everything possible to give them the recognition they deserve. Based on the Governor’s executive order, proms will be postponed and possibly rescheduled for early summer. We plan to host graduation for our graduation class. While we hope for graduations to remain as scheduled, each high school will establish alternate dates later in the spring/summer so families can plan accordingly.

Student and Staff Recognitions

Jackson County Board of Education appreciates the tremendous commitment of the staff and achievements of our students.  We will continue with plans to honor our students for annual achievements and staff retirements through digital promotions.

Extracurricular Activities

All extracurricular activities, sports, school events, field trips, etc., previously scheduled before the end of the school year will be cancelled. More guidance will come on events planned during the summer. For questions pertaining to individual refunds, please contact your school administrators. 

Stay Strong and Safe 

As always, we appreciate your continued support as we work together in these challenging times. As we move toward spring break, we encourage all students, parents and teachers to take a break from distance learning and enjoy time with family at home.

— Dr. April Howard, Superintendent of Schools


 

UPDATED April 1, 2020

We are aware of the governor’s announcement this afternoon that school buildings will remain closed for in-person instruction for the remainder of the school year. Click here to see the 3-page pdf of his executive order.

Our staff will meet in the coming days to address all the issues created by this necessary action, and distance learning will continue this week and after we return from Spring Break, Monday, April 13.

We appreciate your patience as we all work through this together.

 

A list of locations and times for food pickups 3-29-20Food distribution April 2, then April 13

Our next food pick up for students is set for Thursday, April 2, at 10 locations in our county. Click here for the food pick up locations and times.

Participants are asked to stay with / in their cars and observe social distancing practices — it’s an important part of this process. Help us protect our staffers, and please protect yourselves.

Four breakfasts and four lunches will be provided in the grab-and-go bags, and the food is available for ANY and ALL children 18 years old or younger.

Because Spring Break is a regularly scheduled holiday for our schools, food will NOT be distributed at the pickup locations April 6 or April 9. We will resume the regular schedule on Monday, April 13.

We are making a special effort to work with iServe Ministries in support of our families during these unique times. If you need help feeding your children or know someone who does, please reach out to one of our social workers by calling 706-387-7390 or 706-387-7391 or 706-387-7392.

We are making a special effort to work with iServe Ministries in support of our families during these unique and unusual times.

If you need help feeding your children or know someone who does, please reach out to one of our social workers by calling 706-387-7390 or 706-387-7391 or 706-387-7392. Click here to learn more about the social workers, school nurses and clinic aides who serve our children.

iServe’s mobile food pantry will be at the Lanier Tech, Commerce campus, parking lot on Saturday, April 11, and at the Pendergrass Flea Market in Jefferson on Tuesday, April 14. Volunteers are needed at 6:45 am, and food distribution begins at 7 a.m. (with social distancing arrangements in place for everyone’s safety).

For more information and details on how you can help and/or get help, visit iserveministries.org.

 

Computer screen: WORK HARD DREAM BIGPublicly available internet access
The Governor’s Office has created a website that lists publicly available Internet access by county and resources available by communication suppliers: https://broadband.georgia.gov/georgia-internet-access-covid-19-update
 
Please check back often as additional sites and information will be added as they continue to be collected.
 
      • If you are having issues with internet access or your device, please let your child’s teacher know.
      • If you know of others who are having problems and cannot reach their teachers, please help them make that contact — we’re all in this together and stronger together.

 

For more information, please visit the April 1, 2020, post, “Internet Access Information.”


UPDATE MARCH 26, 2020

Calendar showing our return-to-school date as April 27Click here to see a message from Dr. Howard about the extension of our school building closure until April 27, ongoing expectations, and Spring Break.

Haga clic aquí para ver el mensaje en español.


UPDATE MARCH 25, 2020
Participation matters

Devices and connectivity — new keywords in our world since JCSS has distributed 5,634 Chromebooks to students as we all work from home to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Distance learning is going on every single day, thanks to our dedicated teachers, motivated students, and amazing families — and if you are not partaking, we are here to help you get connected.

        • We are committed to making sure that every child is engaged and moving forward during this time, whether online or with learning packets.
        • IF YOU NEED HELP — signing in, completing assignments, understanding what’s expected — please reach out to your child’s teacher. If you need help with devices or connectivity, your classroom/homeroom teacher is the person to start with, too.
        • IF YOU HEAR FROM ANOTHER FAMILY/STUDENT THAT THEY NEED HELP, please urge them to connect with their teachers or administrators via email — and if they don’t have a way to do that, please offer to help them get the message and family contact information to the teacher.

 

We’re all in this together — and stronger together. Please ask for help if you need it for all those students we ALL are working so hard to serve.

 

Friday schedules

Remember that you may see a difference in the schedules and focus for Friday learning across the schools and grade bands this week. Please be sure you look for information from your children’s teachers.

 

Pick up food again Thursday

Grab-and-Go bags, filled with four breakfast servings and four lunch servings, will be distributed across the county again tomorrow (Thursday). Click here for more information or see the posts from previous days, below.

Remember the food is available to ANY and ALL children in our county from little bits through 18-year-olds.

If you or someone you know has food needs that aren’t met by the pickup program, please call one of our social workers (see more, next).

 

Help available from nurses, clinic aides, social workers

As our community adjusts to working and schooling from home, we want to remind you that our nurses and clinic assistants are still available for health questions.

Click here for information on which people serve which schools and for their contact information.

 

Survey closes Friday afternoon

Picture of the student portal page with the survey button circled.Has your student participated in the district’s distance-learning survey yet? The feedback-from-our-students request closes Friday afternoon, and we really want to hear from them.

Please encourage your children to look for the survey under the IMPORTANT LINKS heading in their student portal — this page looks a little different for each school/gradeband, but the button should look the same!

Thanks for helping us learn from them!

 


UPDATE MARCH 23, 2020
Food update

Week 2 of our distance learning adventure began with the return of rain, but the start of meal pickups for our children — 528 students picked up 3,168 breakfast and lunch Grab-and-Go meals at 10 locations between 10 a.m. and noon.

Click here to read more, including more information on how to sign up for free- and reduced-price meals for students if family circumstances have recently changed. We are really grateful to all those who helped make the food option work today for our students.

For those who still need help meeting food needs are asked to contact one of our school social workers at 706-387-7390 or 706-387-7391 or 706-387-7392.

 

Student Survey

Picture of the survey link buttonWe are asking our students to give us some feedback on their distance learning experience. A link to a short online survey is near the top of the links on their student portal, under the IMPORTANT LINKS heading.

A parent survey and staff survey are planned, but please encourage your child to give us their honest feedback as we all travel these unchartered waters!

 

Schedule changes

You may see a difference in the schedules and focus for Friday across the schools and grade bands this week. Please be sure you look for information from your children’s teachers.

 

Help for parents

Looking for some help as you work to protect your children’s health? Our human resources director, Dr. Selena Blankenship provided this link, just for you, from the CDC: Children and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Topics include steps to protect children from getting sick and keeping them healthy, school and social issues, and helping them learn. There are other sections on the CDC site, as well, including one on managing anxiety and stress.

 


UPDATE MARCH 20, 2020

Click here to see Dr. Howard’s message to students, families, staff, and the community.

Check out the schools’ social media pages and the district Facebook page for a look at what we’ve accomplished, working together, this week. And take a look at the most recent JC Success Story video for a celebration of the first week of distance learning.

See information below (March 18 update, further updated March 22) on food service for students that begins Monday, March 23.


UPDATE MARCH 18, 2020 
Food News

School officials have announced that breakfast and lunch grab-and-go style meals will be available for students, beginning Monday, March 23. Click here for details.

In partnership with Family Connection, iServe Ministries, local churches, and food banks, JCSS and our School Nutrition Department have already provided foods and resources to serve more than 74,000 pounds of food to meet the needs of families in our community. The program that starts Monday will bring food to children into the communities with the greatest need without requiring them to leave their homes every day.

          • All parents who need food for their children are welcome and encouraged to go one of the pickup sites (click here to see a flyer with times and locations, three of which are schools).
          • Those families whose children are served by our Nutrition-on-the-Weekend program should hear from Jeff Grant at iServe Ministries directly.
          • Those who are not part of the weekend program and need additional help with food for their children can reach out to our school social workers by calling one of the three numbers that follow: 706-387-7390 or 706-387-7391 or 706-387-7392.

 

Health Information

With the help of our lead nurse, Ronda Brewer, we were able to distribute the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America, “15 Ways to Slow the Spread,” today.

Click here to read or download/print the two-page document from the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

Distance Learning

Our teachers, students, and families continue to pull together to move education forward!  Check out some of the work being showcased on our schools’ social media sites, which are accessible from feeds on their website home pages.

Visit the list of our schools on our website (it has its own tab on the top of each page), and click on the school name to open the website home page. You’ll find the social media feeds in the lower portion of the homepage, below the quick links for students and parents.

You also will find building-level updates on the individual school websites. We will continue to post district-level information here.

If you have questions about the work your child is doing or a technology issue, please reach out to your child’s teacher via email.


UPDATE MARCH 17, 2020 – Re-opening set April 13

From our superintendent, Dr. April Howard …

Last night (March 16, 2020), Governor Brian P. Kemp signed Executive Order 3.16.20.01 closing all public elementary, secondary, and post-secondary public schools in Georgia from March 18, 2020, to March 31, 2020, to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in local communities.

To comply with this order, Jackson County Schools will extend its closure through April 3.

  • We will remain closed through April 10, which includes the already scheduled spring break, with the understanding that this will be a true break for students, staff, and families.
  • There will be no instruction delivered or interaction expected April 6-10.
  • Buildings will be closed to the public through April 12.

 

We will continue to “work, teach, and learn differently” for the next three weeks by working remotely and finding new ways to collaborate virtually and support students.  Parents should continue to work through teachers and school leaders to request assistance with remote learning plans.

Jackson County school buses will deliver food boxes to families in need tomorrow, and we will begin providing breakfast and lunch at pick up sites at Maysville Elementary, East Jackson High School, and South Jackson Elementary next week through April 10. Details about pick up times will be forthcoming, but please know that we are working closely with our students and their families to ensure needs are met this week.

If you have a need for food delivery, please call one of the following numbers:

706-387-7390   or    706-387-7391    or   706-387-7392

We will plan to reopen Monday, April 13, unless we get information that necessitates that we remain closed. If you have any questions, call your school or the district office at 706-367-5151. Voicemail messages left at the district office will be returned.

We will update the district website and social media, as well as send messages through Infinite Campus Messenger as we learn new information. The shortcut to online updates is http://bit.ly/JCSS_COVID-19.

Thank you for your continued support of our students and staff.


UPDATE MARCH 16, 2020 — Day 1 Summary

Thanks to everyone — students, families, and staff — for the tremendous effort that went into our first day of distance learning.

This evening, Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order closing all public elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools in Georgia “through March 31, unless extended otherwise.” Click here for more information.

The days ahead will be full of learning opportunities (for all of us) as we continue to find the best ways to make this work for everyone.

Please use the information below to most effectively get additional information:

  • For instructional help, please reach out first to your child’s homeroom teacher by email.
  • For communications from teachers, watch your child’s school email account (or Canvas account, if applicable).
  • For building-specific information, watch your child’s school website — click on the school name to open the website home page in a new tab. Check the Alert Box at the top left of the school website homepage or check LATEST NEWS.
  • For system-level information, watch the district website — Check the Alert Box at the top left of the homepage or check LATEST NEWS.
  • For COVID-19 updates, look for the link at the top of any homepage Alert Box or use this shortcut: http://bit.ly/JCSS_COVID-19.
  • FOR INFORMATION ABOUT FOOD ASSISTANCE, visit http://bit.ly/JCSS_C19FOOD

We also will continue to use our social media platforms to share information with our families and our communities.

We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. Thank you again for working with us as we all work together for a strong and healthy #OneJacksonGA.


UPDATE MARCH 16, 2020 — Nutrition support available

Jackson County Schools are working hard to ensure our students receive nutrition while honoring the Georgia Department of Public Health‘s recommendation for social distancing. 

In partnership with Family Connection, iServe Ministries, local churches, and food banks, Jackson County Schools and the Nutrition Department are providing food, resources, and funds to make certain we are maximizing efforts to meet the needs of more families.  This will allow us to ensure the children we know are in need receive food without requiring them to leave their homes and risk the health of some of our most vulnerable.

If you have a need, please call:

  • 706-387-7390
  • 706-387-7391, or
  • 706-387-7392

 

We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our students and their families.


UPDATE March 16, 2020

Distance Learning in Progress bannerToday (Monday, March 16) from 4-6 p.m. is the last scheduled chance to pick up technology devices, books, musical instruments, etc., from your school. 

Online/distance learning will take place, beginning at 8 a.m. today. All our facilities will be closed and all activities are canceled through March 29; re-opening is planned on a regular schedule for Monday, March 30.

Any changes to that schedule will be posted on our digital sites and communicated directly to parents through our Infinite Campus student data management system.

Please check individual school websites and social media platforms for building-specific information. Click here for a list of our schools, then click on the school name to go to that building’s website. Once you are on the school’s individual website, you will find links on the lower part of the homepage to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Please reach out to your child’s homeroom teacher as the first point of contact for questions about distance learning. Click here for our full staff directory. If you find an error in the directory, please email kbridgeman@jcss.us.

We will continue to post updated district-wide information and instruction here.

Thank you for your patience and support as we work with our students, staff, families, and communities in these challenging times!

 


UPDATE March 13, 2020 — Reminder

Please remember to check your child’s school website for building-specific information.

Click here for a list of our schools, then click on the school name to go to that website.

Elementary and Middle School parents:

  • If you were not able to pick up instructional material/devices Friday, there will be a second opportunity MONDAY between 4-6 p.m. (and at least one school is making other hours available).
  • Please be sure to complete the distance learning survey (look for the link on the top, left side of your child’s school website homepage in the alert box) please do so as soon as possible.

 


UPDATE March 13, 2020 — Clarifications

Dr. April Howard, superintendent, confirmed the following at this morning’s Board of Education meeting …

  • Instruction will continue for our students during the time schools are closed, beginning Monday morning.
  • The current plan call for classes to resume March 30 for a week, followed by a week of spring break.
  • ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL PARENTS: If you have not already completed the distance learning survey (look for the link on the top, left side of your child’s school website homepage in the alert box) please do so as soon as possible. Click here for a list of our schools, then click on the school name to go to that website. For those who need a Chromebook, our elementary and middle schools will have a check-out system available for you to pick up devices TODAY from 2:30 to 4:30 PM. If you are not available during this time, email your homeroom teacher. We will do our best to make other arrangements.
  • NEARLY ALL OUR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS already have their Chromebooks, and the survey is not necessary at this time.
  • Your child(ren)’s teachers and principals will be sending out additional information regarding digital and distance learning soon.
  • Information about COVID-19 will continue to be posted on our district website. Use this shortcut: http://bit.ly/JCSS_COVID-19.

 


 

UPDATE March 12, 2020 — Message from Dr. April Howard, superintendent

Dear Jackson County Schools Community,

Jackson County Schools has been closely monitoring coronavirus (COVID-19) with guidance from the CDC, Georgia Department of Public Health, Jackson County Emergency Management Agency, and Georgia Department of Education. As the situation has continued to change rapidly, our top priority remains the health and safety of our school community.

This afternoon, Gov. Brian Kemp issued a “call to action” and asked school leaders to consider closing for two weeks to limit the spread of this virus.

While there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Jackson County, in the greater interest of public health, JCSS will be closed for two weeks beginning Monday, March 16, and re-opening Monday, March 30. During this closing, there will be no extracurricular activities, sports, school events, or field trips. As additional information and guidance are provided, updates will be shared.

During this time, schools and buses will continue to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected using COVID-19 approved cleaners. We ask our families to wash backpacks, coats, and jackets as soon as possible as well.

If you have a child in elementary or middle school and you have not already completed the distance learning/Chromebook need survey on your school website, please do so as soon as possible (click here, then on the name of your school to link to the individual schools’ websites; look for the link in the alert box in the top left corner). For those elementary and middle school students who need a Chromebook, schools will have a check out system available for you to pick up devices on Friday, March 13, from 2:30 to 4:30 PM. If you are not available during this time, email your homeroom teacher. We will do our best to make other arrangements. High school students already have been issued Chromebooks for use at home, and a survey response is not needed at this time.

Your child(ren)’s teachers and principals will be sending out information regarding digital and distance learning in the near future. Information about COVID-19 will continue to be posted here.

Especially in this uncertain time, we appreciate our community for their continued support. Please take the necessary precautions to keep yourself, your families, and the broader community safe.

— April Howard, Superintendent


 

For students, staff, and/or family members traveling outside the U.S.

The CDC has posted a travel advisory for what is referred to as Warning Level 3 countries (click here for the most recent list; on March 9, 2020, the Level 3 countries include China, South Korea, Iran and Italy).  This may change in the coming days.  

As a precaution, JCSS is asking currently enrolled families and staff who plan to travel to Warning Level 3 countries to comply with the CDC recommendations by staying home and monitoring their health for 14 days after returning to the United States.  This includes avoiding all school events and activities for all family members living in the same household.  

As families enroll new students, they should disclose if the student or any member of the household has traveled to one of the Warning Level 3 countries within the past 14 days. If this is the case, the student should be allowed to enroll but will not be allowed to attend school until 14 days after their departure from that country. 

 


 

Cleaning protocols

Jackson County Schools Facilities Division’s cleaning cycles include the use of disinfectants that have been pre-approved for use against COVID-19.


 

Feb. 28 letter from our superintendent, Dr. April Howard, about coronavirus COVID-19.

Click here for a copy you can download and print.

Direct links to the sites referenced are …

Coronavirus Letter