Today is the first day back to school for students in Jamestown.
Jamestown Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker said the district is moving forward with having school open for in-person instruction. He said the three-foot minimal distancing allows them to bring back students full-time, “The Governor via the Health Department, the New York State Health Department, has issued a mask mandate. And that mask mandate has the force of law from the Department of Health that essentially says all people who are inside a school building, inside specifically, must wear masks. It’s called universal masking.”
Dr. Whitaker said while the state didn’t provide any guidance on “mask breaks,” local districts are expecting guidance from the Chautauqua County Health Department, “Which is similar to last year – at least a five minute break, every hour. There are plans in place. It works differently at elementary and secondary where if students are more than 6-feet apart, you can take a five minute break and then rotate kind of through the class so that not everyone is maskless through the entire mask break.”
Jamestown School Board President and retired Jamestown Police Lieutenant Paul Abbott asked people to be mindful that there will be students on sidewalks and streets in the early morning hours and then again in the afternoon “It’s something we’re certainly not used to for quite awhile now, so we ask everyone to be a lot more diligent and a lot more cautious during those hours and periods. And encourage your kids to keep their eyes wide open while they’re out there especially until they get used to their routines.”
Jamestown Police Chief Tim Jackson also gave advice for students headed back to school, “Kids should not cross between cars. Always use a cross walk. If you need help, run to the nearest adult or call the police if you have that option. Also, if someone is following you, an adult, or you need help, run to a house or an adult.”
Jackson cautioned motorists to be aware, “The school zone limit is enforced. It’s 20 miles per hour around school zones, so we ask that the public abide by that. It’s very dangerous with little children out, so be careful.”
He noted that when following or approaching a school bus that has its red flashing lights on, that all motorists are required by law to stop.