JAMESTOWN – Mayor Eddie Sundquist will declare a State of Emergency in the City of Jamestown effective Tuesday, March 17 in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“I wan’t to be very clear. This is not because of any reported cases but is an attempt to be proactive and responsive to prevent any further spread,” Sundquist said during a joint press conference with Jamestown School Superintendent Bret Apthorpe Monday morning at City Hall. The announcement came one day after Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel also declared a State of Emergency for the entire county and a day after Jamestown Public Schools announced all classes will be cancelled until April 20.
“Our county has not put any further restrictions on crowd sizes or public assembly, but as the largest city in this county, we anticipate that going forward we will have to make difficult decisions that eliminate public assembly and crowd sizes,” Sundquist said. “We are also going to be making some limiting actions on public spaces… Our office has been working with groups and organizations to cancel events throughout the city.”
Additionally, Sunquist said limitations and restrictions will also be imposed at city hall. He said that anyone who needs to do business at city hall will be asked to first contact the city clerk’s office to see if the issue can be dealt with over the phone. He added that the public will not be allowed to attend all meetings involving city business, but that those meetings would be live streamed online and anyone who has a comment or question for city officials that would typically be asked during the meeting should instead email them to the city clerk’s office. Members of the media will still be allowed to cover any meeting in person.
And Sundquist said local utility customers who rely on the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities for service will have their service continued, regardless of their financial situation.
“The governor has directed that all public utilities not suspend utilities for anyone impacted by the COVID-19 virus. We are still waiting for additional information from the public service commission on that from the Governor’s office, but we are talking with the BPU about ensuring and providing support for individuals that may be impacted by the COVID virus,” Sundquist said.
In addition to the steps the city will be taking due to COVID-19, Jamestown Public Schools will also be taking additional steps to ensure children and their families in the school district will continue to receive services from the school district.
Meals from Jamestown Public Schools
Starting Tuesday, Apthorpe said students will receive lunch along with a bag breakfast for the following day. Students may pick up grab-and-go school meals at Washington Middle School, Jefferson Middle School, Persell Middle School, and Jamestown High School. Meals will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the drop off zones at middle schools and the pool doors location at the high school.
Apthorpe said the district recommends students visit the pick-up location closest to their home and if they are having difficulty picking up meals, call the school’s main office.
Apthorpe also noted that childcare for families with children in UPK3 to 5th grade will be provided for those who need it, adding that details with partner organizations are being finalized with more information expected at the school website – JPSNY.org – by the end of the day Monday.
Continuation of Instruction
While classes are cancelled in the school district, JPS will continue to provide a variety of resources to support students’ continued learning at home. Resources will be provided at elementary, middle, and high school levels. Schools will determine the mode of delivery with more information for the specific levels to be sent out from the district and schools.