Jasper County school districts extend spring break, making plans for students and staff

JOPLIN, Mo. – School districts in Jasper county met today with local health officials to discuss their plans in response to the Coronavirus.

Administrators from Avilla, Carl Junction, Carthage, Diamond, Jasper, Joplin, Martin Luther, Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School, Sarcoxie, and Webb City all met at the Joplin Schools admin office with health officials from the Jasper County Health Department, the City of Joplin, and both Mercy and Freeman Hospital to determine what to do to keep staff and students safe. Dr. Tony Rossetti, Webb City Schools Superintendent “I think what we all decided upon, being proactive and trying to mitigate some of the contagious part of this disease is to go ahead and close, we’re going to close, we’re going to extend our spring break from now until April 3rd, so students would come back on April 6th.”

All the schools agreed on that day, but the administrators know, it’s not concrete. Dr. Melinda Moss, Joplin Schools Superintendent says “We know that April 3rd is simply a benchmark, and as that date approaches we’ll make evaluation of whether we need to extend our closures and what our situation is at that time because as you know this is rapidly changing and evolving.”

In between, each district is working on plans to help students and parents during the extended break. Dr. Moss says “We are looking at providing meal services and child nutrition services we still need to work out the details of, to what extent will those be delivered, will those be curbside, and how those will look going forward.”

Carl Junction Schools will begin having meetings Wednesday to develop a plan for their district. Dr. Phillip Cook, Carl Junction Superintendent says “Over the course of the next several days, we won’t have all the answers tomorrow, it will be several days or a week before we have things in place, but we’re going to be diligent and try and do the right things.”

Webb City, among others, say they’re working on ensuring their students are well served. Dr. Rossetti says “We want to be supportive, we want to be a positive influence in this really just, difficult time, and we understand there are a lot of ‘cant’s’ and we want to start focusing on what we can do.”

Officials say they’re hopeful there won’t be a need to extend the closures beyond April 3rd. We did hear from Joplin Catholic Schools who said they are also closed through April 3rd.