Update: May 28, 2020 - Planning for the 2020-2021 School Year
It is difficult to believe that our school year will be wrapping up tomorrow. The last two months seem both to have lasted forever and gone by so fast!
As this school year draws to a close there are many questions about what our next school year may look like. To date, we've been given no direct guidance from the State of Ohio or the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) . A draft document from ODE was released through the media recently and some recommendations have been provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC Education recommendations begin on page 45) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
You will note several patterns within the recommendations:
- Flexibility for students and staff who may be in high risk categories to permit, in as much as possible, delivery of distance instruction
- Physical distancing of students/staff
- Strict limitations on visitors to the building
- Strict limitations on field trips
- Improved cleaning and disinfecting protocols
- Easy availability to hand sanitizer
- Frequent hand-washing
- Use of masks for most/all people in the building
- Limited/No use of playground equipment unless it can be disinfected in between each group
- Limited/No use of large group gathering areas such as cafeterias and auditoriums
- Limited number of students on school buses to allow for physical distancing
If you read through the documents there are more suggestions than I have listed here, but the general synopsis is that school would look and feel very different than what we have been used to having. And, of course, any major outbreaks would likely put us back into a situation of having all students distance learn.
Our team has started to discuss how we might reopen to in person instruction. Over the next few weeks I'll be seeking input from our families, faculty, and staff. Our maintenance team has already started ordering touchless hand sanitizer stations for each classroom, disinfectant misters for each building, disinfecting wipes, touchless paper towel and soap dispensers for all bathrooms, and other cleaning and disinfecting supplies. We are committed to providing as safe a facility as possible when we can return to school. That being said, no one can guarantee a completely safe environment and any return to in person instruction will come with risk.
In addition to these plans for in person instruction, we have to be prepared for the potential of having online distance instruction for part of the school year should there be any outbreaks of COVID-19 in our community or region. Another idea that has been suggested is a schedule where some students attend one day and others another on a rotating schedule to allow for greater physical distancing of students. This concept would be supported with online instruction on days when students are not attending. Lastly, some students may not be able to attend in person at all. Any of these scenarios require that we as educators improve in regards to our online and blended teaching and learning knowledge and practice. To that end, several members of our teaching faculty have been working on professional development and support for our classroom teachers. I am very proud of how our teaching faculty stepped up and did the best they could in an emergency situation to provide remote online instruction very quickly; I also understand that we'll need to improve for the coming year.
Please know that the Athens City School District is determined to offer a safe and supportive learning environment for all of our students regardless of how that learning needs to occur. I am very hopeful that each of our students and their families are able to enjoy a restful and safe summer. The teachers, support staff, administrators, and board members at the Athens City School District will be working and planning throughout the summer to make the 2020-2021 school year as welcoming, positive, rigorous, fun, exciting and safe as we possibly can.
Have a great summer!
Update: May 27, 2020
Tomorrow is the official last day of school! On behalf of the faculty, staff, administration and members of the Athens City School District Board of Education, please accept my sincere gratitude for your patience, understanding and kindness as we've worked through a very difficult two months of distance instruction. I know we have all been disappointed that we could not participate in our typical end of the year activities and are looking forward to the potential for in person instruction next school year. Our team has been planning for various options. Please check your email tomorrow for details about things we will all need to consider in planning for what next school year may look like. I will communicate throughout the summer as we learn more about finalized plans for opening our buildings in August.
As we wrap up this school year, I'd like to remind everyone that we will be collecting ACSD Chromebooks and hotspots from all seniors and the students of any family leaving the district tomorrow morning from 8 a.m. to noon at Athens High School. Please drive up to the high school from Johnson Road. We ask that you remain in your vehicle and wait for school personnel to assist you.
As you return your Chromebooks and hotspots, please be prepared to provide your name as well as the name of the school building from which you received (or picked up) the Chromebook. Please make sure to return your charging cords for Chromebooks and hotspots as well. If you have the original packaging for the hotspot, please pack the charging cord and device in that box.
If you have any questions, you may contact the front office at Athens High School at 740-797-4521.
Lastly, please be reminded that any student returning to the Athens City School District next school year is welcome to keep their Chromebook and hotspot for use over the summer.
As I close out this message I want to wish each of you a healthy and restful summer vacation. If you are available on Saturday, please join us at 11:00 a.m. for the Athens High School Class of 2020 virtual graduation. The link for the event can be found in the news feed on the front page of the District website. We are very sorry we cannot have a traditional commencement ceremony this year and are very much looking forward to the time when we can all come together to celebrate your accomplishments.
Congratulations to the Senior Class of 2020!
Update: May 22, 2020
Athens High School is collecting ACSD Chromebooks and hotspots from ALL SENIORS AND ANY K-12 STUDENTS OF ANY FAMILY LEAVING THE DISTRICT.
Collection Dates & Times:
- Tuesday, May 26th, 2020, 8:00 am - 12:00 pm at Athens High School
- Wednesday, May 27th, 2020, 8:00 am - 12:00 pm at Athens High School
- Thursday, May 28th, 2020, 8:00 am - 12:00 pm at Athens High School
- Please drive up to the high school from Johnson Road.
- Do not exit your vehicle.
- We will have personnel out front to assist you.
- Chromebooks and chargers: Please be prepared to provide your name as well as the name of the school building from which you received (or picked up) the Chromebook.
- Hotspots: If you received a hotspot from the district, we will also be collecting these from families who are leaving the district or no longer need them. Please place the hotspot and charging cord in the original packaging (if you still have it).
If you have any questions, please contact the front office at Athens High School, 740-797-4521.
Update: May 5, 2020
Families of our elementary school students are reminded that you may drive by and pick up personal belongings at each of the elementary school locations this week on Thursday between Noon and 3 p.m. and Friday between 9 a.m. and Noon.
This year's Kindergarten Registration process has moved online. Information was emailed out to families earlier this week. If you know of a family who may not be on my call list who has a child who will be five before August 1st, please encourage them to look for information about online registration under the News and Announcements on our District website. All forms will be completed online now, with in person health screenings occurring at a later date
There are only 16 days of school until the end of the current school year! The administrative team met yesterday and we have decided that May 26, 27, and 28 will be set aside to assist students in turning in and completing assignments who may have fallen behind with the switchover to our distance format. As a result, no new assignments will be given for the last week of school.
Additionally, the administrative team has decided that students in Kindergarten through 11th grade will be permitted to keep their Chromebooks and hotspots over the summer. If for some reason you do not wish to keep your device or hotspot over the summer, please contact your school building office and make arrangements to return them. Information for return of devices for our graduating seniors will be shared in the near future.
Monday was National School Bus Driver Day. Please join me in sending out a belated "Thank You!" to all of our Athens City School District school bus drivers! We appreciate all you do to make sure our students are safe getting to and from school, as well as stepping up in recent weeks to drive routes to deliver meals. Thank you!
This week is also Teacher Appreciation Week. I cannot express how proud I am of our teaching faculty. The support and guidance they have shown our students over the past six weeks has been amazing. I appreciate their hard work every day, but especially for stepping up so quickly to create online learning experiences for our students this Spring. Please join me in showing your appreciation for all of our Athens City School District Teachers. Thank you!
I hope all of our families are healthy and well.
Update: May 4, 2020 (2/2)
Below is all of the UPDATED AND REVISED information for Kindergarten registration for the 2020-2021 school year for the Athens City School District. Due to the unexpected COVID-19 closure, the screening dates have been rescheduled for later this summer. Please see all details below.
NEW FOR THIS YEAR:
You can complete all of your registration forms online NOW.
- If you have older student(s) already enrolled at ACSD, you'll receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org and you can add your new kindergartener from that account.
- If you have only a new kindergartener to ACSD, you will create a new account using the link and directions below.
View the Kindergarten Registration & Health Screening 2020-2021 Flyer.
- Your child MUST BE 5 YEARS OLD ON OR BEFORE August 1, 2020 to be eligible for registration.
- Please bring your child with you
- Plan on being at the school for 45 minutes — 1.5 hours.
- You must arrive at least 45 minutes before the end of the session
- NEW FOR THIS YEAR:
- ALL registration events will be held at the Athens City School District Central Office.
- 21 Birge Drive, Chauncey, Ohio 45719
- Please enter through the front main entrance
Dates & Times (Scheduled by the Building Students Will Be Attending)
- Wednesday, August 5, 2020
- 8:00 - 11:00 am The Plains Elementary
- 1:00 - 4:00 pm Students Attending Morrison-Gordon Elementary
- Wednesday, August 12, 2020
- 8:00 - 11:00 am East-West Elementary
- 1:00 - 4:00 pm Open for anyone not able to attend during their scheduled time slot
Please Bring the Following Items With You:
- Your Child’s Birth Certificate
- Visa and I-20 for international students (Must provide entry date to the country on the VISA.)
- Legal Residential Parent/Guardian Driver's License or State Issued ID Card
- Your Child’s Immunization Record
- Proof of Residency (i.e. a Utility Bill showing "service at" a physical address, a Property Tax Bill, a Mortgage Bill, a Lease Agreement, etc.—proof must show a physical address,not a P.O. Box)
- Custody Papers (if applicable)
If you are able, you can upload your required documentation when you register your kindergartener on FinalForms.
- Under the New Student Registration Process form, there is a section where you can upload files.
- You can scan your files or take photos of them.
- You can then click the Manage Documents button and upload the saved files from your device to Final Forms.
- They must be in PDF, JPG or PNG format.
Update: May 4, 2020 (1/2)
Athens City Schools is moving all academic student registration (in addition to athletic registration) to FinalForms, an online forms and data management service that will be replacing paper forms. FinalForms allows you to complete and sign enrollment, back-to-school and athletic participation forms for your students. The most exciting news is that FinalForms saves data from season-to-season and year-to-year, meaning that you will never need to enter the same information twice! FinalForms also pre-populates information wherever possible, for each of your students, saving you time.
Please follow the directions below for the category you belong to. Please note that we only need one residential, custodial legal parent/guardian to register student(s).
- Category 1: I have 7th-12th grade student athlete(s) who are currently enrolled students at ACSD.
- You will log in to the account you have been using to register your student(s) for athletics.
- Category 2: I have student(s) who are currently enrolled at ACSD but NOT 7th-12th grade student athletes.
- You will receive an email message from email@example.com
- You MUST use the email to log in to your account to register your student(s) and not create a new account. If you create a new account for you and your student(s) who are already in the system, it will create duplicate accounts which will require the district to work with Final Forms support to get the accounts merged and the data fixed.
- Also, you will be able to add any new preschool or kindergarten students if you already have other students currently enrolled at ACSD from your parent/guardian account.
- Please click here for the directions for current/returning students.
- Category 3: I have student(s) who are currently enrolled at ACSD but I don't have an email address on file with the district.
- If you do not have an email address on file, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We can then add your email address to the system and send you an activation email from Final Forms.
- Category 4: I have a preschool or kindergarten student or we just moved here and are new to the district.
- You will need to set up a new account.
- Please see the Final Forms Parent Playbook for instructions.
IMPORTANT: Please click here to read the ACSD Final Forms FAQ which has answers to common questions.
Thank you for your assistance in streamlining our paperwork processes at Athens City Schools.
How do families get this information regarding registration if they are new to the district or registering a student for the first time?
For anyone without current students in the district, the information will be posted:
- As a news item on the district website news section.
- On the ACSD COVID-19 Closure Landing Page.
- Sent out as a push notification via the ACSD mobile app (free download available to anyone - see details below).
- On our social media (available to anyone - see details below).
ACSD Mobile App
Our district's mobile app is available for download to your mobile device (for free) in iTunes or the Google Play store! Once you have downloaded the app, you can click on the Settings option to turn on push notifications, which will enable you to automatically receive push notifications sent from the district on your mobile device. You can also sign up for push notifications from the individual buildings you select. Type "Athens City School District" in the search field or go to athenscsd.org in your browser and the app will appear in a banner across the top of the browser window to download.
Social Media - #AthensBulldogs
Find out what is going on in the Athens City School District via our:
Update: April 28, 2020
Please be aware that we will have opportunities for families to pick up personal belongings that were in school lockers and desks over the next two weeks.
- Athens Middle School will have drive-by pick up of personal items on:
- Thursday, April 30th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for all students with last names beginning with the letters A-L
- Friday May 1st from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for all students with names beginning with the letters M-Z.
- A third pickup window for any families not able to make these days/times will be on Monday, May 4th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Athens High School will have drive-by pick up of personal items on:
- Thursday, April 30th from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. for Juniors and Seniors
- Friday, May 1st from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for Freshman and Sophomores
- A third pickup window for any families not able to make these days/times will be on Monday, May 4th from 8:00 a.m. to Noon.
- East-West, Morrison-Gordon, and The Plains Elementary Schools will have drive-by pick up of personal items on:
- Thursday, May 7th from Noon to 3:00 p.m.
- Friday, May 8th from 9 a.m. to Noon.
Please be reminded that if your student has any textbooks, library books or school uniforms to return, they should be dropped off at that time. Any student prescriptions will only be returned to a parent or guardian and a signature will be required.
Building Principals will be communicating additional information about pick-up procedures via email. Additionally, all of my messages are available on the front page of the district website at AthensCSD.org under the "COVID-19 ACSD Closure Updates" banner.
If for some reason you are unable to come to the building to pick up items on these dates/times, please contact the school office to make other arrangements.
I continue to keep all of our families in my thoughts. I know this is a difficult and stressful time for many of us and I sincerely hope that each of you remains healthy and well.
Update: April 20, 2020
Earlier today Governor DeWine announced that all Ohio school buildings will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. School districts are required to continue distance instruction for the days remaining on the adopted school calendar. The Athens City School District will continue distance education through Thursday, May 28th.
We are aware that many students have personal items in their desks or lockers at school. We will come up with a plan for parents to be able to pick up those items in the near future.
While the Ohio High School Athletic Association has yet to make an official announcement, they have previously indicated that spring sports seasons would be cancelled if the school closure order was extended. We should expect an official communication from the OHSAA in the next day or two.
As a result of the Governor's Order, any and all school trips, events, activities, or ceremonies that were previously scheduled between now and the end of the school year are cancelled. Unfortunately, this order will include the cancellation of the Athens High School Prom, the Senior Trip and all in person Commencement activities in May. The Athens High School Administrative Team is working on a plan for a virtual commencement ceremony, as well as setting up alternative dates later in the summer for an in-person commencement should it become possible to host such an event.
To honor the senior class of 2020, the lights at Joe Burrow Stadium and Ed Rannow Baseball Field will be lighted at 8:20 PM (20:20 military time) for 20 minutes and 20 seconds this evening. We are asking that each and every Bulldog household participate by turning on your porch lights at 8:20 PM for 20 minutes and 20 seconds. Please join us in recognizing the Athens High School Class of 2020!
Please accept my sincere wishes of good health to each and every member of our community. Go Bulldogs!
Update: April 17, 2020
Earlier today our Director of Technology, Steve Gunderson, shared with me a story about a 3rd Grade student who worked with him on the phone for nearly an hour to replace a SIM card in a hotspot, get her Chromebook started up, and connect to the internet. I later learned from this student's teacher that her father and grandmother had taken her to the library parking lot to use the drive-up internet every day since online instruction started just to make sure she was able to participate! I've heard other stories like this about the great lengths families are going through to make sure students are able to "attend" their classes. Thank you to our parents, grandparents and other caregivers for all of the support you have provided over the past few weeks. We understand this is difficult work and we appreciate all you do to support your children. This story also brings to mind the handful of technology specialists who work behind the scenes to keep our technology services going. In addition to Steve Gunderson, I'd like to thank Rob Purcell, Simon Dikki, and Tammy Hawk for all of their work to make sure our students can have access to their teachers. Your efforts have not gone unnoticed. Thank you!
Please be reminded that if you do need technology support, in addition to calling our helpline at 740-797-4544 x1229 you can also call the Ohio University Technology HelpDesk at 740-593-1223, option #2. I've also learned that the Athens County Public Library is scheduling free remote technology training appointments to help families with training on basic computer skills. The link to the Athens News story about that service is here: https://www.athensnews.com/calendar/miscellaneous/remote-technology-training-appointments/event_fd3643e4-7a8d-11ea-a391-8ba7fabd9e7d.html
As I close out my message this evening, I'd like to share with you a short poem by Walter D. Wintle:
“If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don't,
If you like to win, but you think you can't
It is almost certain you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you're lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow's will
It's all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed, you are
You've got to think high to rise,
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man (person),
But sooner or later the man(person) who wins
Is the man(one) WHO THINKS HE(they) CAN!”
― Walter D. Wintle
We've got this.
We can do this.
We are the Athens Bulldogs, and
We are in this together!
Please accept my wishes of good health to all of our families. Thank you for your continued support. Have a great weekend!
Update: April 13, 2020 (2/2)
On Friday the District received our hotspots and immediately began logging serial numbers and getting devices set up. This is a bit more detailed of a process for us, as we are required to provide filtered internet, which necessitated our working with T-Mobile to run each of the devices through a specific filtering server address. T-Mobile completed their setup today and our team began making final changes on each device this afternoon. This will take some time, however we should be situated to begin contacting families who are on our hotspot request list as early as tomorrow afternoon and should be able to get devices to every family who has requested one by the end of the week.
Despite the challenges with connectivity, we are seeing a very high participation rate by students. I appreciate the efforts families are making to get to wireless access areas throughout the community to assure your students are online. Thank you!
I would like to highlight two specific messages that went out on Friday and Monday:
The first is regarding a partnership with Ohio University to provide tech support to our students and families. Families are now able to call the Ohio University Technology Service Desk at 740-593-1223, option 2. The service desk hours are M-F 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. A detailed message was sent out on Friday about this partnership. We are very grateful to Ohio University for providing this support.
Earlier today, any family with students attending the Athens City School District on Inter-District Open-Enrollment and those families with elementary age students participating in Intra-District Open Enrollment for whom we have email addresses on file should have received a message with directions for how to complete and turn in Open Enrollment Forms online through Final Forms. Please be reminded that each student is required to apply each year. The application window will be open for two weeks. It is my intention to accept every student who is currently attending one of our schools on Open-Enrollment for the coming year. If you did not receive an email or if you are unable to access the online forms, we will work with you to make sure your child can continue to attend the Athens City School District.
Please be reminded that meal deliveries will be on Tuesday and Thursday for the next few weeks. On Tuesday, each student will receive school meals for Tuesday and Wednesday and on Thursday the delivery will have school meals for Thursday, Friday, and Monday.
As I close tonight's message, I'd like to take a moment to thank our teachers and building administrators. They have worked many hours over the past few weeks preparing for and learning about online instruction and taking the time to connect with students and families. For most of us, this is a new adventure, and one filled with much anxiety. Please join me in thanking our classroom teachers and building administrators for all that they have done so far and will continue to do to keep our students connected to school. The relationships our teachers have with students and families are vital to our children's success
Please accept my sincere wishes for the health and wellness of each of our students and their families.
Update: April 13, 2020 (1/2)
The open enrollment application period for the Athens City School District opens today, Monday, April 13, 2020 and closes April 24, 2020 at 4:00 pm. This is for ALL open enrollment, both inter-district (students living outside of the school district) and intra-district (elementary students living in the district wanting to attend a different elementary building than the one they are assigned to). Please click on the link below to read all guidelines for ACSD open enrollment.
Athens City School District Open Enrollment Guidelines
This is the first year we have completed registration online. Even if you sent a paper application prior to or during the COVID-19 closure, YOU MUST complete the online registration process. Any paper applications are null and void. The open enrollment form is now built into our district registration forms. You will be completing all required registration informational when you complete the registration process. Also, all registrations are time-stamped. Open enrollment registrations will only be accepted with a timestamp between April 13th and 4:00 pm April 24th. ALL FORMS MUST BE COMPLETED IN FINAL FORMS BEFORE YOUR APPLICATION WILL BE TIMESTAMPED WITH AN APPLICATION DATE.
If you are applying for open enrollment (inter and intra-district), submitting this registration information online does not guarantee acceptance to the district. You will be contacted by the school district regarding the decision.
If you have a student who will be entering kindergarten in the 20-21 school year and you wish to apply for open enrollment, you will need to complete the online registration process.
Online Registration Process
- Only ONE LEGAL RESIDENTIAL PARENT/GUARDIAN needs to register a student. We do not need each parent/legal guardian to sign up and submit registration information for students. Other family members (i.e. step parents, grandparents, aunts, family friends, etc. can not register students through Final Forms unless they have legal guardian status).
- CURRENTLY ENROLLED ACSD STUDENTS:
- If your open-enrolled child(ren) IS NOT a student athlete in grades 7-12 you will receive an email today from email@example.com with directions to login to your new Final Forms account.
- If your open-enrolled child(ren) IS a student athlete in grades 7-12, you will use the Final Forms account you used to register your child(ren) for athletics.
- Directions: ACSD Final Forms Parent Playbook for Current/Returning Students
- NEW STUDENTS TO ACSD:
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions regarding open enrollment registration.
ACSD Open Enrollment Registration for 20-21
Update: April 10, 2020
To help support the Athens City School District (ACSD) successfully transition to online instruction, Ohio University's Office of Information Technology (OIT) will provide tech support for ACSD students and instructors, helping the district's handful of IT employees keep up with what is likely to be a flood of support calls in the coming weeks.
Starting April 13, families within the Athens City School District may call 740-593-1223 (option #2) for help with internet setup, online learning apps, and device troubleshooting.
“We’re fortunate to have this partnership with OHIO’s OIT to help support our students and faculty in this difficult time,” Tom Gibbs, Superintendent of Athens City School District, said. “We understand the challenges for some in our community when it comes to technology and believe this support will truly help our students in remote learning.”
With a reported 16% of ACSD students without access to home internet, the district will begin distributing hotspots in the very near future. OHIO is also offering the community free guest wi-fi coverage in many Athens campus parking lots(opens in a new window); however, access is just the first step. Support becomes a big deal when technology isn't just a part of the classroom but is the classroom.
“Since schools have transitioned to online instruction, it is more important than ever that students have the necessities like internet to continue their education,” OHIO Chief Information Officer Chris Ament said. “By providing IT support to our local school district, we are helping ensure accessibility to area students while also providing remote work for our own OHIO students.”
Calls will be fielded by OIT student employees who worked at the IT Service Desk in the Tech Depot before social distancing restrictions closed that location.
"It's a win-win situation," Mary Jeffreys, OIT Service Desk manager, said. "We can handle the added call volume, and it gives our students a chance to keep working remotely while making a meaningful contribution to the local community."
Click here to read the article online.
Update: April 9, 2020
The Athens City School District Board of Education will be meeting on April 16, 2020 at 6:30 P.M. to conduct the Districts’ Regular Board Meeting. Consistent with the Order and directives from the Director of the Ohio Department of Health and Governor related to COVID-19, and Am. Sub. H.B. 197, this meeting will be conducted virtually.
The public is invited to join the virtual meeting by teleconference or video conference using the following information:
Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/519412691
Dial-In Number: 646-876-9923
Meeting ID Number: 519 412 691
In order to accommodate public participation, anyone wishing to provide comment to the Board must notify Dr. Thomas Gibbs at 740-797-4544 ext. 1201 or email@example.com no later than 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
Update: April 6, 2020
Please be reminded that school meal deliveries will arrive tomorrow morning. Tomorrow's meal delivery will consist of two meals for Tuesday and two meals for Wednesday. The next meal delivery day will be Thursday, April 9th.
Last evening I was happy to announce that hotspot devices were in route. Today I was disappointed to receive packages from UPS that included cellular SIM Cards, but no devices. I've spoken with our T-Mobile representative in Columbus who was as surprised as I was. He was not aware they had broken the shipment into two deliveries, one each for the SIM Cards and a second for the devices themselves. We remain hopeful that devices will arrive any day. Our tech team will begin set up and delivery as quickly as possible after they arrive. I know this is frustrating for our students and families who do not have home internet and I sincerely apologize for the delay.
I have heard many positive comments from our students and families who were able to interact with their teachers and peers today in online learning. I am hopeful we can make the most of a difficult situation in the coming weeks. Please remember that goal #1 this week is for our students and teachers to connect. In education, we often talk of the 3 R's: Relationships, Relevance, and Rigor. This week's focus is primarily on establishing digital relationships and working to determine what lessons are relevant to our students given all that is happening in their lives at this time. Academic rigor will increase in the coming weeks. We need to take the time to assure as many students as possible have access to these educational tools and opportunities before moving too far ahead.
As always, the team at the Athens City School District appreciates your patience and understanding. We all hope your families are well, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Update: April 5, 2020
I received confirmation from T-Mobile early this morning that our WiFi hotspots should arrive in Athens by the end of the work day tomorrow. Our team will begin configuring the hotspots as quickly as possible and hope to begin getting them out to families by Tuesday afternoon.
In the meantime, please consider using the drive up WiFi access at each of our buildings as described below:
Athens City School District Parking Lot WiFi Access:
- AHS: in the front of the building to where the two parts of the building extends closest to the front parking. The closer you get to the building the better the signal. But there is a fire lane next to the curb closer to the building.
- Chauncey: Where the Central Office staff parks and the closer to the building the better (this is the parking lot to the left of the building as you face the front entrance.)
- East-West: in the paved parking near the cafeteria and new modular and closer to the buildings the better.
- Morrison-Gordon: Only in the parking on the left side of the building and the spots next to the building (the area at the bottom of the driveway leading around to the modular and the playground.)
- The Plains: Only in the parking on the left side of the building (nearest Channingway) and the closer to the building is better. And there is a fire lane by the curb there also.
Ohio University WiFi Locations
- In addition to drive-up WiFi access out our buildings, Ohio University contacted me and provided the attached map of WiFi access throughout the Athens Campus:
- Ohio University WiFi Access (map attached below):
- An Ohio University account is not a requirement to access the university’s wi-fi. Here are the instructions to connect to the wi-fi:
Athens County Library WiFi and online Resources:
A message from Nick Tepe and the Athens County Library System:
We have huge catalogs of free digital audiobooks through the Ohio Digital Library and Hoopla, which don't require signing up for anything more than a library card (which can be gotten online if they don't have one). They also both have kids' sections, and Hoopla even has a kids mode so that parents can ensure that their kids only have access to age-appropropriate titles. We also recently got access to Kanopy, which also has a kids' section and has access to a huge catalog of documentary and educational films. We also have access to Scholastic BookFlix and TrueFlix for interactive reading, Mango Languages for language instruction, the Great Courses collection, Lynda.com online classes, and lots more. You can access all of the digital content resources from the buttons for e-books, e-audiobooks, movies, etc. on our home page, and the databases and class resources are on our "Research" page.
Our WiFi is still on and accessible from the parking lots at all of our locations plus our hotspots in Amesville and New Marshfield.
The Faculty and Staff of the Athens City School District are VERY EXCITED to welcome our students back to ONLINE school this week!
Thank you and have a good evening!
Update: April 3, 2020
As of this afternoon district personnel have distributed 1,842 Chromebooks to students. Hundreds of those were hand delivered by paraprofessionals and members of our administrative team. We still have a small list of students who we very recently received requests for or who we have not been able to contact. Our team will continue to make every effort to assure our students have the devices they need to participate in online instruction.
As of today, the hotspots that were ordered have not arrived. It appears many districts ordered devices in a very short period of time and therefore deliveries are delayed as manufacturers work to fulfill all of the orders. Despite this small setback, it is our intention to begin online instruction on Monday, April 6th. In an effort to provide some internet access while we wait for the arrival of the mobile hotspots, our technology team is relocating wireless access points in our school buildings today to create drive-up internet access in parking lots at each building location. We will have maps of those parking lot locations out early next week. We will be asking teachers to check in with students who do not respond or participate in online classes next week to keep students connected with school as much as possible until the hotspots can be delivered to families.
Our teachers have asked me to remind students and families that students should begin checking email each day and should be looking for invitations to class meetings, Google Classroom or Canvas lessons, and general correspondence from their teachers. It is important with online learning for each student to be responsible in routinely checking for communications from school.
The Athens County Sheriff's Department and DARE Officer Jimmy Childs have asked me to share that they will be distributing snack bags for Athens County children at the Athens Walmart on Monday, April 6th from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on a first come basis.
The Athens City Schools Food Pantry will be open at Chauncey on Wednesday, April 8th from 3-5 p.m. with a focus on personal care items. This will be a drive up distribution of items in front of the main entrance to the Chauncey building on Birge Drive.
Today I'd like to highlight our School Maintenance and Custodial Team and thank them for all they have been doing to assist with meal preparation and assuring that teachers and Food Service Staff who continue to report to our buildings have a safe environment. They have been working daily to clean and disinfect our food preparation areas and any classrooms and offices where secretaries and teachers have worked throughout the day. Thank you to these members of our Athens Bulldogs Team for all of your hard work!
Our teachers are very much looking forward to spending more time, albeit at a distance, with our students next week. The focus in the first week of online classes will be on establishing connections with students and assuring students can use the technology they have available. As time progresses, more lessons will be added, however it is important in this first week that we assure as many students as possible are able to access the coursework. Thank you to all of our students and families for your patience and support as we begin online instruction!
Update: April 1, 2020
Each day we are reviewing our procedures to make every effort to limit the exposure of our staff. In an effort to allow more of our employees to refrain from coming onsite to work, we will be reducing the number of days per week for meal delivery. Tomorrow morning, each student will receive three student meal bags, one each for tomorrow, Friday and Monday. Each bag contains items for one breakfast and one lunch. The next meal delivery will be on Tuesday morning, April 7th. Reducing the number of times meals are delivered will decrease the number of times our Food Service, Transportation, and Paraprofessional staff have to leave their homes and interact with others. Thank you for your understanding as we work to allow for our own staff to physically distance as much as possible.
School administrators have been contacting families who still need Chromebooks to arrange for delivery. We are very close to having all Chromebook devices delivered to students. Unfortunately, our order of hotspots did not arrive today. I will continue to be in contact with our provider and we have a team of technology specialists ready to configure the devices as soon as they arrive. I will keep everyone updated as to our progress.
This week we have received many requests for access to Infinite Campus accounts that were not accessible because school fees have not been paid. Today, all Infinite Campus portal restrictions were lifted for the remainder of the academic year. We want to assure that all families have online access to their student's records during the time that we are providing distance education.
Another topic of concern has been that of Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten enrollments and screening, as well as the annual applications for Intra-District and Inter-District Open Enrollment. Our team is in the process of switching these applications over to an online format through Final Forms. Parents with students who participate in athletics are already familiar with this online process. We will be migrating our academic forms over to Final Forms in the next two weeks. As soon as applications are available, a notice will be sent out to all families and posted on our website. There may be some components of applications and enrollments, such as copies of photo identifications for parents and signature pages for open enrolled students that will need to occur at the start of next school year.
The Athens City Schools Food Pantry will be open next Wednesday, April 8th from 3-5 p.m. for the distribution of personal care items such as shampoo, soap, and other personal hygiene products. We will use a drive by pick-up on Birge Drive near the front entrance to the Chauncey building. We will ask that families pull up to the curb, wait to be asked to exit the vehicle, pick up their items, and return to the vehicle. The effort will be to reduce close interaction as much as possible. We have received over $5500 in donations to the Pantry in the past two weeks and will be working to have food and personal care item pickups every couple of weeks while we our under the Stay At Home order from the Governor's Office. Thank you to everyone who is supporting this effort!
I was made aware today of a couple of local online resources for virtual trips. Please consider exploring these resources on your own:
The OHIO Museum Complex Virtual Portal
offers a broad range of educational activities and engaging content to learn about our region or travel virtually around the globe. The site will be updated it from time to time to offer new content as it emerges.
The mAppAthens tours also offer ways to learn about the region by engaging in a healthy walk or exploring on a computer.
Lastly, next week will be Spirit Week. Athens High School Athletic Director Rick Guimond will be sending out information later this week. I hope you will take the time to participate and come together virtually while we keep our physical distance.
I hope that all of the members of our Bulldog Family are healthy and happy!
Update: March 30, 2020
Earlier today Governor DeWine announced that schools in Ohio will remain closed through May 1st. For the Athens City School District, this closure shall include all athletic programs, extracurricular activities and use of school buildings and grounds by any entities. Any previously approved building or grounds use between now and May 4th is officially revoked. I would expect an announcement from the Ohio High School Athletic Association in the next few days regarding how this new order may impact Spring sports programming.
Please accept my sincere wishes for good health for all of our students and families.
Update: March 29, 2020
Please be reminded that we have a few more steps to get through before we can go “live” with our online instruction. To date, we have distributed over 1800 Chromebooks to students. We have nearly 250 students who still need Chromebooks and internet access. Hotspot devices for internet connectivity are expected to arrive by Wednesday, at which time we will immediately begin configuring and delivering devices. I know it has been some time since our students were in school, however it is important that we assure the most students possible have access before beginning online instruction.
For hundreds of our students in grades PK-2, this may be the first time students have been assigned a google account. Tammy Hawk emailed parents the access information last week. If you have an email on file with us and did not see the message, please check your “spam” or “junk mail” folders to look for this message. If you still cannot locate the message, or if you have any other difficulties in accessing your student’s Google accounts, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For tech questions related to the Chromebook device itself, please contact our technology department at email@example.com or call 740-797-4544 x 1229.
For questions about creating or accessing your parent or student portal for Infinite Campus, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our team is working day and night to get issues resolved so that as many students as possible have access before we officially begin online instruction. Realistically, given the delivery of hotspots and Chromebooks and getting all of our students access to our online platforms, it is likely we will not officially begin online instruction until Monday, April 6th. While the Governor has not officially closed school beyond the end of this week, the information we have been provided leads us to believe that we will not be returning to school for at least a few more weeks.
This week you should expect that teachers will reach out to students and families to test out email, google-classroom, Zoom, and Canvas access either via digital methods or telephone.
If you’d like to take this week to explore and learn on your own, I would recommend the virtual tours on the State of Ohio website at https://ohio.org/lets-get-digital-virtual-attractions-activities. Additionally, Audible has offered multiple free audio books for children at different reading levels and in several world languages at https://stories.audible.com/start-listen.
Our team appreciates your patience as we arrange for online instruction. I will provide an update in a couple of days as to where we are in the process. Until then, I hope families who already have devices and internet take the time to explore and learn on your own.
We have had many calls asking if students may retrieve items form lockers or desks at school. Our team has been very busy assuring that students have school meals and in making sure students have Chromebook and internet access. Once we know more about the Governor’s position regarding an extension of the “stay at home” order, we will make arrangements for students to retrieve items from school. Teachers will be planning lessons in the short term with the understanding that students may not have access to the same materials they might typically have in the classroom.
We have also received multiple questions about picking up items related to PTO and other fundraisers. To assure the safety of our staff who need to work at the buildings on a daily basis to prepare and deliver meals to students, we will not be permitting distribution of those items at this time. Once we have a better idea of the Governor’s position regarding any extension of the “stay at home” order, we will make a decision as to the best manner of proceeding with pick up of these items.
Our team greatly appreciates your support and understanding as we work through the many challenges of delivering instruction at a distance. We believe strongly that the preparation on the front end will provide for a better delivery of services. Thank you for your continued patience and support.
Update: March 28, 2020
Many Chromebooks are now in the hands of students and more will be coming this week. If you need assistance, we have specific accounts set up to assist with different types of issues. We will answer emails in the order in which they are received. Please note that the volume of work is high right now so do not expect an immediate response.
General Information Regarding Student Accounts:
- All students must log into ACSD Chromebooks with their ACSD student Google accounts.
- Parents/guardians of preschool, kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade students were emailed login information for their students. If you did not see an email, please search for the email address email@example.com and/or the subject line NEW Google Account Information for ACSD Student as it may have landed in your spam/junk folder or elsewhere.
- Parents/guardians of 3rd-12th grade students: Students should know their login information. Students get accounts starting in 2nd grade and they must use these accounts to log in each time they use any ACSD Chromebook at school.
- Parents/guardians of students new to ACSD have been emailed login information for their students.
- Any students submitting emails for support MUST use their ACSD Google accounts. ACSD staff are only permitted to send email message to students from their district Google accounts (no personal email accounts).
FOR ALL SUPPORT REQUESTS, PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR NAME AS WELL AS THE NAME, GRADE AND SCHOOL FOR YOUR STUDENT(S).
Student Google Account Support
Examples of Questions for this Account:
- What is my login information?
- My Google account is being recognized.
- My Google account is not working properly
Phone: 740-797-4544 x1229 (leave a message)
Examples of Questions for this Account:
- My cord won't work with my Chromebook.
- My Chromebook is damaged.
- My Chromebook won't turn on.
- My Chromebook isn't working properly
Campus Portal Account Support
Examples of Questions for this Account:
- I would like to set up a portal account (parent/guardian).
- I need a password reset for my portal account.
- Why is my portal account disabled?
Update: March 27, 2020
Over 600 Chromebooks were distributed to families yesterday afternoon. With the over 700 Chromebooks already in the hands of Athens High School students, that brings the total number of devices distributed to over 1300! We still have approximately 600 students who have indicated they need a Chromebook. Please be reminded that we will have another pick-up time today at East-West Elementary School, Athens Middle School, and The Plains Elementary School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Monday we will begin delivery to those students who are not able to come to the pickup locations today.
Parents of Preschool, Kindergarten and First Grade students who have an email address on file with us should have received an email with directions for signing into your child’s school Google account. That same information will be mailed to homes of students for whom we have no parent email address on file. If you have internet at home, please go ahead and sign into the device and set up your child’s email. As of today, we are still expecting to receive the mobile hotspots we have ordered by the middle of next week, at which time we will immediately begin setup and delivery. I will provide periodic updates and let you know when we are ready to go live with our online instruction.
If you do have home internet and Chromebooks, feel free to go ahead and use the devices and explore topics and websites of interest on your own. Please be aware that devices owned by the Athens City School District will automatically be directed through our cloud based internet content filters. This filtering is used to provide a level of assurance that children will not be accidently exposed to inappropriate content. Please also be aware that content filtering is not perfect and some level of parent or adult supervision is required to assure your child is safely using their device and connectivity.
I want to end today’s message by thanking our Food Service Staff, Paraprofessionals, Bus Drivers and Maintenance and Custodial Team for all the work they have done this week. The District has provided over 5000 meals to families and is getting very close to being able to provide online instruction to over 2500 students because of the hard work of our classified staff. If you know any of them, thank them. We couldn’t operate on a daily basis without this team of hard working and caring adults.
Please accept my wishes of good health to each of you and your families.
Update: March 25, 2020
The District has now been through three days of school meal deliveries and we continue to iron out some kinks. If you have requested meal delivery and have not yet had meals delivered to you, please email your school principal or call the school office and leave a message. While district staff are mostly working remotely, voice messages left at the schools are being forwarded to building secretaries and administrators.
The District will begin distribution of Chromebooks tomorrow morning, however we will need to modify our original plan in order to expedite the process. We’ve had an overwhelming response for requests for Chromebooks, with nearly 1200 individual students asking for devices. This is great, but makes for a difficult job of delivering them all door to door by school bus. We are asking that families who are able to do so, come to one of three locations for a drive-through Chromebook pick-up between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. tomorrow and Friday.
Distribution of Chromebooks will be based on the area of the District in which you live, regardless of your grade level.
If you live in the Morrison-Gordon attendance area, you will come to Athens Middle School to pick up your Chromebook. Please pull up the driveway from Lancaster street and through the main parking lot and playground and then exit onto High Street. We will have personnel directing traffic.
Distribution of Chromebooks for the East-West attendance area will occur at East-West in the rear of the building. Please pull in the back driveway and create a loop around the parking area and pull up at the back doors and then exit the back driveway. We will have personnel to assist in directing traffic.
Distribution of Chromebooks for The Plains attendance area will occur at The Plains Elementary School in the main drive at the front of the building.
Our team will be as efficient and quick as possible in handing off devices to families. We ask that you be patient with us and remain in your vehicle. The goal is to practice physical distancing and to have as little direct contact as possible.
Any families unable to pick up Chromebooks themselves will be contacted on Monday to arrange alternative delivery.
Students in Grades PK, K, and 1 will also be receiving directions via parent email addresses as to their login and password for Gmail and Google Classroom. If we do not have an email address available, a hard copy of this information will be mailed or delivered to your home.
Our faculty has been busy this week learning to use various functions in Google, Canvas, and Zoom. Online coursework will begin after we have received and delivered internet devices to families without internet next week.
Again, we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work through the steps to assure the greatest equity for lesson delivery for all of our students and families.
Tomorrow morning, the district will be making a first delivery of school meals to students at home. Please be reminded that deliveries will occur between 8:15 and 9:30 am.
For the safety of both our employees and our students, we ask that families allow our employees to leave the meals on the porch or another location and that the face-to-face interaction be limited.
School personnel will also be disinfecting and cleaning Chromebooks tomorrow for delivery later this week.
At this point, mobile hotspots are on order, and should be in by the 1st of April. I will update families when we intend to deliver Chromebooks and hot spots to make sure an adult is home the day we deliver and can confirm receipt of the devices.
You may have heard that the governor put in place today a stay home order. School meal delivery is exempt from this order. It is our intention to continue this service as long as possible. I would like to encourage families to stay at home as much as possible and to only go out when absolutely necessary.
Any staff members who have traveled over spring break are encouraged to self-report to your supervisor and self-quarantine for at least 14 days from the date of your last travel. I want to thank everyone for following restrictions that are in place. These measures are for the safety of all members of our community.
As Governor Dewine and Dr. Amy Adkins pointed out in their comments today, we can define how the course of this pandemic proceeds. If we follow the guidelines, we can create a safer environment for everyone in our community.
I will continue to provide updates every few days. Thank you for your continued patience and support.
I would like to thank our parents who submitted online surveys and our teachers and staff who made phone calls today to provide me with as accurate information as possible to make decisions about how best to move forward as a district.
Preliminary results from surveys indicate that we have approximately 16% of our student population without home internet. We have a plan in place to address this gap and I am working with vendors to place an equipment order. I have been informed that it may be the end of March before that equipment is delivered. In an effort to be as prepared as possible for the date when we can be assured that our students all have basic internet access, we will be working on the following items over the next week:
Tomorrow, Food Service Staff will begin preparing sack breakfasts and lunches for a first delivery on Monday, March 23rd. It is our intention to leave the schools with meals at approximately 8:15 a.m. and to deliver those meals to the homes where they have been requested between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. I will determine if these deliveries will be daily or every few days after more closely reviewing our survey data tomorrow. This information will be shared out as quickly as possible.
After these delivery routes are established, we will use the same routing system to bring Chromebooks to each student who has requested one. I would expect we could begin Chromebook deliveries on March 25th, however I will provide phone call updates the night before any deliveries to assure parents are aware when the devices will arrive.
Teachers will begin online professional development to use Google Classroom, Canvas, and Zoom next week and prepare lessons for a potential start the week of March 30th. Please be aware that in order to provide the greatest equity of educational access to all of our families, we will not officially begin online education until such time that internet equipment is delivered and up and running. This may mean that the originally planned start date of March 30th is delayed to accommodate this step in the process. Again, I will provide periodic updates so families are aware where we are in the process.
This is an unprecedented time in our history, but we can all work together to make the best experience possible for our children. I would ask that families turn off the news and TV and not over-expose children to the negativity surrounding the news coverage of the current pandemic. Take the time to read books together, talk about your hobbies and interests, research an interesting topic, write a poem or story, or just get outside and take a walk. Contact your loved ones who may need to be more isolated because of their health risks and don’t forget to support your small local businesses by ordering carryout or picking up a cup of coffee or tea.
I am personally grateful to live in such a caring and thoughtful community. Thank you for your continued patience and support as we work to reconfigure how we deliver education to our students.
We are working on a plan to begin meal deliveries on Monday, March 23rd and to begin remote instruction on March 30th. Those who can respond online, please do so as quickly as possible. For those who do not have access and have not responded online we will begin making phone contacts by Thursday morning.
In addition to sharing this information, I wanted to communicate to members of our community that this Thursday's Board Meeting is cancelled. Our next Board Meeting will be on Thursday, April 16th.
Also, we wanted families to know that the Athens City School District Food Pantry in Chauncey will be open on Wednesday from 4-5:30 p.m. When you arrive, please remain in your vehicle. One bag of food per family will be brought to the vehicle. Drivers should enter Hubie Bobo Lane from Birge Drive and exit through the stadium driveway.
I have received many calls and emails from people asking how they can help. If you are interested in supporting the Athens City School District Food Pantry, please mail checks to the Athens City School District Office c/o Tom Gibbs and make checks payable to the Athens City School District Food Pantry. The mailing address is P.O. Box 9, Chauncey, Ohio 45719.
Lastly, faculty and staff will want to routinely check email, as specific instructions and updates will be sent out over the course of the week.
Our team members appreciate everyone's patience and understanding as we work through these details. Additional information and updates will be provided as they become available.
Updated INTRA-District 20-21 Open Enrollment Dates: April 13-23, 2020 - Details regarding registration will be forthcoming.
All school offices and the district central office will be closed Monday, March 16th - Wednesday, March 18th.
Please be aware that Governor Mike Dewine announced today that he is closing ALL SCHOOLS in the State of Ohio for three weeks beginning the end of the day, Monday, March 16th. This decision effectively increases the two-week school closing that I announced earlier this week. As a result of the Governor’s decision, please be aware that the Athens City School District will now be closed through Friday, April 3, 2020. Again, the Athens City School District will be closed through Friday, April 3, 2020.
In addition to schools being closed, there will be no practices, meetings, activities or events between now and April 6, 2020. Earlier today I also cancelled all out of state and overnight trips between now and the end of the school year. These trips include the Athens High School Band Trip to Nashville, the Athens Middle School Washington D.C. Trip, the East-West Elementary School Gettysburg Trip, The Plains Elementary School Camp Akita Trip and the Regional Scholars Program. Given the extended time period students will not be in school, I will be reviewing all other field trips over the next week and will be imposing additional cancellations.
Our buildings are closed during this time to any use by outside groups. This would include any childcare programs, camps, youth organizations, community athletic programs, or other groups that routinely use our buildings for pick-up games, programming, or other activities. The decision to close the schools is based on the principal of social distancing. For this reason, we must protect the integrity of the decision by not allowing other groups to utilize our facilities for group activities. This directive is in place until further notice. Any previously approved building use between now and April 6th is officially rescinded.
Due to contractual obligations related to calamity days, teachers and other employees will not be working next week. As a result, we will be in planning the week of March 23rd in regards to meal and food deliveries and determining if online instruction is feasible and to what extent.
I know that there will be many questions. Unfortunately, at this very moment I do not have answers finalized. As decisions are made and information becomes available, I will communicate to our families.
Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we work through the specific details of this closure.
On Monday, March 8th Governor DeWine issued a state of emergency following the positive identification of three persons with the COVID-19 virus in Cuyahoga County. In press statements today, the Governor has advised Universities to suspend face-to-face classes and use online instruction. Ohio University has announced their intention to provide instruction online from March 16th to March 30th, with face-to-face classes to resume on March 30th.
In response to this new information, Superintendents from Athens and Meigs County, Logan-Hocking, the Beacon School and the Tri-County Career Center met with Dr. James Gaskell and Jack Pepper from the Athens City-County Health Department to discuss how our K-12 educational institutions should respond to limit the spread of the virus.
As a result of that meeting, it has been decided that the Athens City School District will be closed beginning March 16th and will reopen for face-to-face classes beginning on March 30th. During this time, all practices, meetings, and events will be cancelled with the exception of the Board Meeting on March 19th. With our proximity to Ohio University and the many families connected to the University, it is very likely that many families traveled over the spring break and may have become exposed to COVID-19. Given the knowledge that the virus may incubate for up to 14 days, this period of time off from school will limit the possibility for student exposure and transmission of the virus. While the Governor is not recommending that K-12 schools close, Athens is unique given the large proportion of our families associated with the University and the situation related to travel over the Spring Break period. Other area districts without this direct connection to Ohio University may choose to remain open at this time.
12-month staff and administration should continue to report to work and offices will remain open at this time. Additional information regarding when 9 month staff should report and other restrictions will be provided in the coming days. Thank you for your understanding of our need to make this decision.