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Jenkins students to return to classes on November 4

Jenkins board votes to open classrooms

Jenkins Independent Schools will return to hybrid-schedule in-person classes on November 4.

Parents will still have the final decision as to whether or not their children attend classes at the school or continue to pursue the virtual learning option. However, the progress students have made so far this year in virtual classes will figure into recommendations from the school as to whether the student returns to in-person classes.

Superintendent Damian Johnson explained at the special called school board meeting Tuesday that academic progress will weigh heavily in the school’s recommendation for students to come back for four days a week in-person instruction. He said if a student is making good progress in virtual learning, and if they want to continue, they should. But if a student is having difficulty in mastering their classwork in the online setting, it is likely that they will benefit from in-person instruction. He said that ultimately, there is no substitute for the teacher/student interaction that in-person instruction offers, but with the constraints of the quarantine and the danger of infection, parents who choose to continue with virtual instruction for their children will have the option.

In-person classes will take place on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Students will continue virtual classes on Wednesdays.

Johnson said if the rate of infection spikes or the county goes back into the red category, the school will have to return to virtual classes until the situation can be addressed. Buses will pick up students and take them home, and meals will be prepared in the cafeteria. He added that work for the current grading quarter will be due by Tuesday, November 3.

Johnson also said the hallways and classrooms have been retiled and prepared for social distancing and for separation in hallways. There will be isolation areas for students who test positive for COVID-19 until they can be picked up or taken home.

The school board also voted to establish its own insystem police department, and will hire its resource officers directly, rather than through the Jenkins Police Department. Johnson said he had spoken with Russell Thompson, superintendent of Pineville City Schools, who is his mentor in his superintendent training. Thompson said Pineville has a similar program and it has worked out very well. The board will hire a sworn officer as the resource office and the officer’s focus will be on the school system. The superintendent did not go into other details about the program.

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