Jasper County schools close doors until April 3rd

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JASPER COUNTY, Mo. — All Jasper County schools are shutting down through April 3rd to help stop the spread of covid-19.

The decision comes after superintendents from both public and private schools in the county met Tuesday afternoon to discuss this ongoing situation.

They say keeping people in their district safe and healthy is their top priority.

Dr. Phillip Cook, Carl Junction Schools Superintendent, said, “Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something new comes along.”

School district leaders in Jasper County admit they’re in uncharted territory, but they’re teaming up to help stop the spread of covid-19.

“When we can all get together and share ideas and share thoughts, we have a better chance of solving some of these problems.”

Dr. Melinda Moss, Joplin Schools Superintendent, said, “I want parents, faculty, everyone to know that we do not make these decisions lightly, And there’s a lot of evidence that supports this decision at this time. But this is only going to work if we roll up our sleeves, fight this thing together, but have unity by distancing.”

Closing all Jasper County schools through April 3rd comes after Superintendents from both public and private schools met with city, county, and health officials to make the difficult decision.

“We realize that April 3rd is a benchmark date, then we will turn around, and as time progresses, we’ll be evaluating whether those closures need to continue.”

Dan Pekarek, Joplin Health Dept. Director, said, “We think it’s reasonable right now for them to look at extending the period of time that they’re going to stay out for Spring Break. We just think that’s that’s probably a reasonable thing to do.”

Each group of district leaders will now meet privately to approve and move forward with these guidelines within their respective district.

“Several of us had met with the Health Department a week ago, so it’s just a follow-up. We’re continuing the conversation with them to do what’s good for our kids and for our families and for our community,” said Cook.

“Right now, we’re being told by our Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that our revenue streams will continue intact for this school year,” said Moss.

For Joplin, that means teachers and staff will still be paid and chidlren in need of meals will still be fed.

“We do intend to have some sort of child nutrition services through this time.”

While the logistics are still unknown, each school district is working to make that happen.

“Our school district, we actually have a Google Doc going right now that our administrators are weighing in on, and putting all of their thoughts as they think of something, they add it to it,” said Cook.

Because their main goal is keeping the people in their respective district safe and healthy.

“We love them. We love them. And we’re going to do what we can to care for them and meet their unique needs.”

They all hope to be back to classes by April 6th, but that again could be an ongoing changing situation.

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