JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson students returned to classes last week and steps are in place to keep them and staff members safe during the COVID-19 Pandemic. In our Exclusive One On One, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba discusses how an easier testing method could make a big difference. He also addresses the continuing deadly shootings in the city and how the community can come together to stop the violence.
Jackson is now up to 8 homicides so far this month. Mayor Lumumba says there are no easy answers to stop the deadly violence.
“Mayor Lumumba said, “sometimes it makes people feel better to hear a simple solution. We’re gonna hire a thousand officers. Well first of all practically that isn’t likely and not possible. But realistically even when you look at the highest murder rate prior to this year, the highest year murder rate we had in a year, in the City of Jackson, was coincidentally the year that we had the highest number of officers as well.”
He says the city has not stopped working to address the ongoing problem.
“The city is addressing it and the city takes it seriously and the Police Department takes it seriously, that we will exhaust no effort, no means in order to respond to the homicides that we have”, said Mayor Lumumba.
The Mayor adds it is important to look at the nature of the crimes.
The mayor said, “we’ve had domestic circumstances. We’ve had people, we’ve had a son shoot his stepfather, the mother running out of the house. We’ve had you know people turning guns on people inside their private residences.”
Mayor Lumumba tells us wherever you have high poverty, you also have high crime.
“And so we have to dig in deeper to figure out how we better support families, how we better support communities to do that and so we’re gonna be committed to that in every way”, said Mayor Lumumba.
January 19th students in the Jackson Public School District returned to classes for the first time since last March. Temperatures are taken as students board buses and Mayor Lumumba says a partnership with local company LabLinq could make coronavirus testing easier.
Mayor Lumumba said, “we look forward to not only that being a benefit to our residents but seeing how we can maybe use that within our school district to make certain that our students are tested frequently and that they are safe and that they don’t spread amongst themselves, to their parents, or the faculty and staff that support them each day.”
Mayor Lumumba says the city is also building an internet system to make sure every child has the access they need to continue learning.
“Internet Infrastructure that more than just deals with the moment, that we’re building a Municipal Broadband Network that can support our students that don’t have access to internet. That can support our students who are falling behind because they are not resourced like others”, said Mayor Lumumba.
JPS is reporting 4 positive COVID-19 cases for students with 61 in quarantine. This is for the reporting period of January 18 and the week of January 11th through the 15th. There were also 19 positive cases for staff members with 21 in quarantine. There are several safety measures in place including temperature checks, personal protective equipment, handwashing breaks and mandatory face coverings.