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Columbus Board of Education President Jennifer Adair Opens Meeting With Message To CCS Community

March 19, 2020 -- The Columbus Board of Education held an in-person meeting on Wednesday night, practicing safe social distancing with all members seated at tables spaced apart. Jennifer Adair began the meeting with the following speech, providing a message to the CCS community during this unprecedented time.

"I want to say a few words to our parents who are out there: I'm with you. I've been two days with my fourth-grader, and it is challenging. The District has provided a lot of great resources online that you can go to. We have plans that are coming out in the future to provide more information about more resources about academic support for your students. It is always our number one priority, no matter what situation we are in, to educate the children of Columbus. I also want to make sure that our parents are aware that we do have food. I know that's been out there, but we opened up another site at East High School. Please go out [to those sites], you can get breakfast and lunch at those sites, and we will keep evaluating that to see if additional sites and resources are necessary.

"Also, a big shoutout to COTA, who made some announcements about different bus services and allowing students to ride to free to get to those food sites (NOTE: COTA later announced that all bus rides are now free for everyone during this pandemic). In this time of emergency, as we said in our press conference, not every answer can be given right now. We continue to work, we continue to plan, we continue to move forward in the best way that we can. All the while, we promise to communicate with you as fast as we can, because we know that our families and our community are under a lot of stress right now.

"I also want to thank our administrative team as well as our teachers, faculty, and staff, who have been coming into work. We have Food Service working, we have Safety and Security working, we have people coming in from home. We have teachers, who, I know you're waiting for more instruction and what to do. They're trying to reach out to students and engage. All of that will be coming in time, in terms of different ways that you can engage with your students. I want to thank all of you and know that the team is working hard to ensure that we can again provide the best educational opportunities for our students going forward.

"If any of you are tuning in to the Governor's press conferences -- and if you're not, you should -- you probably know that this is going to be extended. If you listen to Dr. Amy Acton, we understand that the peak of this will probably not hit until summer. So I know, I know we have a lot of parents and especially our seniors, our class of 2020, who are very anxious to know what's going to go on, and I promise that we will get information to you as soon as we can.

"Be ready, families. Be ready for those announcements, be ready for plans on how we will continue education as we move forward. This is a time of not only stress, but in stress I think comes great innovation. I'm very proud of what our team has done in this short amount of time -- coming together, working together, breaking down silos, to come up with plans that are creative. We have been embarking on the Portrait of a Graduate, and in that, we have thought about 'what is the future of our kids? What is the future of work? What is the future that we need to prepare them for?' Well guess what, that future just met us right now. Every day our team has to take those kinds of lessons that we have been talking about for our kids and use them, now. We need to develop technology and ways to innovate so that we can continue the path of working forward and educating our students."

"I want to thank you all so much and know that we will continue to communicate with you. Communication is key. Please tune into press conferences, the Facebook page, robocalls from your principals. Connect with each other via Facebook. We're in this together, we're the CCS community, and we will come out stronger on the other side."