ACSD COVID-19 Closure Information

Last Updated: 8/20/2020 7:46 PM

​Update: August 20, 2020 (Important Updates: Orientation, Materials & Textbooks, etc.)


With school starting in just over a week, I wanted to reach out and provide some additional information for our families. Please be reminded that our first day back to school for students is August 31st.  Each family should have already received a message from the building principal explaining that Mondays will be asynchronous learning days, with synchronous learning on Tuesdays-Fridays each week.  

 

Given that our first day back to school is an asynchronous day, you should expect to receive communications from your child's classroom teacher(s) as to the schedule for the week, lessons and activities that are posted for the week, and any opportunities on August 31st for parent-teacher meetings.  Families with students attending Athens High School should have received a message with the recorded orientation materials. Orientation materials for elementary and middle school families will be sent out within the next week.  

 

In order to help you plan ahead, you should expect the following communications/activities from the school district:

  • Monday, August 24:  Communication from the Building Principals (ES & MS) about orientation.  AMS & AHS will be contacting families for any student who still needs to pick up a Chromebook or hotspot.
  • Wednesday, August 26:  Supplies/Workbooks/Technology Pick-Up at East-West, The Plains, and Morrison-Gordon ES buildings from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • NOTE that East-West 6th Grade Students will pick up their supplies and workbooks at the East-West Building on this date.
  • Thursday, August 27:  Virtual Open-House Meetings with Teachers and Families for all buildings as arranged by the classroom teacher/advisory teacher
  • Friday, August 28: Virtual Open-House Meetings with Teachers and Families for all buildings as arranged by the classroom teacher/advisory teacher
  • Monday, August 31:  First Asynchronous Learning Day for Students
  • Tuesday, September 1:  First Synchronous Learning Day for Students
  • Monday, September 7:  Labor Day
  • Tuesday, September 8: Textbook/Materials Pick-Up at Athens Middle School and Athens High School (times to be determined)
  • Wednesday, September 9: Textbook/Materials Pick-Up at Athens Middle School and Athens High School (times to be determined)


Athens City School District Faculty and Staff have been receiving professional development this week regarding online/blended learning and using various online learning tools such as Zoom and Canvas.  Additionally, every employee is participating in an initial course on implicit bias that was developed and delivered by multiple members of our local community in collaboration with the Athens Area Mediation Service, the Athens Community Relations Commission and the Racial Equity Coalition of Athens.  We have also been supported in this work by Athens Parents for Racial Equality.  I'd like to thank the many members of these organizations for their guidance and encouragement.  Together we hope to build a platform for fighting racism in our schools and the broader community!


As we begin the 2020-2021 school year I'd like to thank our parents and families for your support and patience.  We look forward to the time when we can return to school in person and enjoy the many activities, celebrations, and traditions that make our schools such a vital part of our community!


Our entire team looks forward to seeing our students and families over the next two weeks.  Enjoy your last week of summer and be prepared for a new adventure as we head into the Fall Semester.

 

Update: August 6, 2020 (What Will ACSD Online Look Like this Fall?)

As we prepare to begin our school year in an online format, I wanted to share with you a basic overview of what you might expect as our students return to school.  This general concept has been developed using input from students and families during our Spring time online, as well through conversation with our educators and recommendations that can be found in most research about online learning.  Additionally, the weekly schedule is based on the concept that when we return for in-person instruction it may likely be in a blended format.  We wanted to make the transition from online to blended as seamless as possible for students and families.  To assist in making sense of my description below it is important to note that synchronous learning is learning that occurs at the same time (think of Zoom meetings with the class) and asynchronous learning is learning that can take place at any time based on the needs of the family.


Daily/Weekly Schedule:


Mondays will be reserved for asynchronous work on class projects and assignments.  Teachers will use this time to co-plan and to catch up on communications with individual students and families.  This time may also be used for general intervention and extension activities with students.

 

Tuesday through Friday each week will have a “typical school schedule”.  The idea is that the online schedule would mirror the in school schedule to the fullest extent possible, with time built in for elective courses or “specials”, as well as for each academic content area, lunch, etc.  An elementary aged student would have a set time each day for synchronous lessons in English/Language Arts, Mathematics, etc.  This schedule will create a routine for students to get into on a daily basis.  Generally teachers may be actively engaged with the entire class for a period of time and then break out an work with smaller groups of students via Zoom.  Each teacher will be asked to record the synchronous lesson and save it to the Canvas site for viewing or reviewing later for those families who may not be able to get their students to each synchronous lesson.  These synchronous lessons will be supported by additional practice and projects assigned to students to complete either immediately if the support is available at home or later in the day if it is necessary to wait on someone to help with the work. 


Elementary “specials” classes would occur on a rotating basis three days a week, with music, art, and PE each taking place on a given day at a given time slot.  These lessons would be partly synchronous, with additional work that may be complete asynchronously.  For those students with a great interest in these areas, the Fine Arts and Physical Education Teachers will make available additional voluntary projects and assignments as extension activities and will use the other two days a week to work with those students who are seeking more of these types of activities.



AMS and AHS students will, in much the same way they do at school each day, have a daily schedule and will “switch classes” each period.  During the allotted time for a class, the teacher would provide some synchronous instruction and then some time for asynchronous work, while also being available to answer student questions during this time.  For those students who may not be able to make every synchronous session, these synchronous lessons or a resource with the same information will be saved to the Canvas site for later viewing or reviewing.

For students who receive special education services, an assigned intervention specialist will contact parents individually prior to the start of school to ensure that each child's needs are addressed.


Attendance:


Students are encouraged to attend all synchronous offerings and also to complete all asynchronous work.  Teachers and administrators are aware, however, that childcare may be an issue for some, making it difficult for the student to attend synchronous class work some or most of the time.  In these unique circumstances it will be important for the family to communicate frequently with the teacher to assure that the recorded lessons are watched later and that asynchronous work is completed and turned in.  As long as open lines of communication are maintained and the teacher can comfortably communicate to the building administrator that the student is participating in and completing necessary work, the student will be marked present.  Any pattern of work not being complete will need to be followed up on by district staff to assure that the student has what they need to be successful and to determine if other steps are necessary to assure that every student is “attending” school.  District personnel will be as flexible as we can be, but must ultimately be responsible for reporting accurately the participation of students in their classes.


Grades:


The Ohio Department of Education requires that grades be given as they would be in a typical format.   At Grades K-6 the decision had already been made to have a standards based report card for all students and we are moving forward with that change (this already existed for grades K-3 and is being extended to 6th grade this year). AMS and AHS students will receive letter grades.


In order to best prepare class assignments based on the medical needs and safety of our students and faculty, the District will be taking the following steps over the next two weeks:

 

  1. Ask families to complete the Final Forms form asking any family who knows they will need online instruction for the entire school year to sign up for that option.
  2. Identify and place students who will be online for the entire year into classes.
  3. Request from employees a statement of their desire and/or need for remote work.  Priority would be given to those with health concerns related to COVID, with secondary consideration given to those who may have other reasons for requesting remote work or full year online assignments.
  4. Assign online faculty and students to classes/courses.
  5. Assign all other students to classes/courses.


Due to the time it will take to work through this process, final class lists may not be available until late August and may need to change based on the needs of our students and employees.


I hope our families find this information helpful as you prepare for the coming school year.  Our goals in planning have been to provide a rigorous academic model that can be scaled up or down as needed and is also flexible enough to recognize the unique needs of Athens City School District Families.


District personnel will provide additional details over the next few weeks.  We are very excited to have our students back in school!

 

Update: August 4, 2020 (Clarification of Final Forms Registration for Online Learning)

 

Yesterday we posted a Final Forms registration form for those who wanted online learning for the entire school year.  Please consider the following:


Generally we make every attempt each year to assign students to classes and have those same students stay in the same class with the same teacher(s) for the entire school year.  The relationship between the teacher and the student is often key to the success of the individual student and for the class as a whole.  What our team is attempting to do is to identify those families who have a high level of certainty that they will need an online format for education for the entire school year. 


The reality of our current situation is that it will be at least winter before we have an FDA approved vaccine, and it might be longer.  After a vaccine is approved, it will need to be mass produced and then get to every corner of the country.  The timeline for this chain of events puts us somewhere at least mid-late spring, at which time the school year would be nearly finished.  And, this scenario requires that everything happens on a perfect timeline.  Given this scenario, the question we are asking is . . .


Do you already know you will likely need for your child(ren) to remain in an online format for the entire year?


This information is necessary at this time in order to make every attempt to group students who intend to be online for the year together into classes and courses.  This allows for less disruption for all students if we are in a place to open for in-person instruction at some point during the school year.  Having this information also allows us to assign employees who may be at higher health risk to assignments that are certain to be online for the year.  Lastly, by knowing how many students would remain online, we would also have a better understanding of how many students could show up for in-person instruction as we are making decisions about and implementing appropriate safety protocols.


The challenge for some families answering the survey is that there is concern the District may decide to return to in-person instruction before the family is ready to make that decision.  I am receiving messages essentially demanding that we permit any family to make a change in decision at any time and to honor that decision.  I'm sorry that I cannot make such a commitment, as the variables are too many to predict exactly how many students at each and every grade level would decide to make such a change.  I can assure you that we will do our best to accommodate families if they need to make a change in their decision at a later time.


For the immediate question at hand, if you know you or your child are at high risk or have close family who are at high risk and you know you will likely need to be online for the entire year, please check the box for this choice.


I appreciate the difficulty and complexity of this decision, however our team has to make our best effort to protect the most vulnerable members of our school community and this is one step towards making that happen.


Please know that the refusal to answer the question can only be interpreted as NOT wanting online for the year.

 

Update: August 3, 2020 (ACTION REQUIRED for all ACSD Families: Complete Online Learning Form by FRIDAY 8/7/20)

 

All families need to log into FinalForms (even if you have already completed forms for your child(ren) for the 20-21 school year).  A new form, ACSD Online Learning Program, has been added to the formset for all students and we need this form to be completed for EACH STUDENT in the district, along with all other forms in FinalForms if you have not yet completed them.  This form must be completed by Friday, August 7, 2020. 

 

ACSD Online Learning Program

 

FinalForms Directions & Information

 

  • Link to Register: https://athens-oh.finalforms.com
  • Questions or Assistance for FinalForms: finalforms@athenscsd.org
  • Questions Regarding Registration: registration@athenscsd.org

 

ACSD Online Learning Program

 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Athens City School District will begin the 2020-2021 school online and revisit the possibility of face-to-face instruction at the end of the first quarter. However, the district has committed to offering full online instruction to students for the entire academic year if parents/guardians choose. In order to adequately prepare for this model, the district needs to be informed of each parent/guardian’s decision to participate online for the 2020-2021 academic year. Any parent/guardian who wants to keep their child(ren) online for the entire year, regardless of other opportunities provided by the district, must complete this form for EACH CHILD. Students will be provided access to the curriculum, a district Chromebook and a wifi hotspot for internet access (if necessary). Once you have selected your enrollment preference for the 2020-2021 school year, students will not be permitted to leave or enter their chosen program unless space is available.

 

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FinalForms Directions & Information

 

All academic student registration (in addition to athletic registration) for Athens City Schools is on 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 according to 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 FinalForms 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 should’ve received an email message from mailman@finalforms.com last spring.
  • 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 finalforms@athenscsd.org.  We can then add your email address to the system and send you an activation email from FinalForms.

Category 4: I have a preschool or kindergarten student or we just moved here and are new to the district.


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.

 

 

Update: August 3, 2020 (Online Learning & Change to Student Start Date)

The Athens City School District Board of Education met in Regular Session on Thursday, July 23rd, 2020 at which time the Board decided to begin school in an online format for at least the first grading period of the school year. The administrative team is working to finalize guidelines for how our online program will operate this fall.  These updated guidelines will be communicated to families over the next few weeks.



In addition to approving online instruction, the Board approved a change of start date for students to August 31st in order to accommodate teacher professional development related to online/blended learning.



Later today each family will receive an email with directions for completing a form in Final Forms related to making a decision about selecting online learning for the entire school year. We are asking that every family complete the form for every student in the household, whether you are choosing online instruction for the entire school year or not.  While we understand that some families may not want to make this decision at this time, there are many others who have specifically requested this option.  By knowing which of our students/families are registering for online learning for the entire school year, we can better assign teaching faculty to allow for more continuity for our students and faculty when we are able to return to in-person instruction.



Those families who did not ask for a Chromebook for each student in their home in the Spring will be receiving a phone call from your child's school this week confirming whether any additional Chromebooks are needed.  It is important that each student have ready access to a device that has a microphone and a camera and can connect to the internet.



Please find below the answers to a few of the frequently asked questions we have been receiving:



I would like to have my child in school in person as soon as possible.  Will there be any opportunities to have in-person schooling this school year?  The goal is to have students in school and in person as soon as it is safe to do so.  Our team is moving forward with ordering PPE and cleaning/sanitizing supplies.  Our school nurses and maintenance/custodial teams are writing and testing protocols for when we do return in person, and our Transportation Department will begin working on potential routing plan options.  Please be aware that until there is a vaccine any in-person instruction would look very different and many safety protocols must be developed and put in place to assure a safe environment for students and staff.



Does this mean we will not have fall athletics?  The decision about in-person schooling will not impact fall athletics.  For many years student athletes and their families have been required to sign health waivers.  In this instance, families would be required to sign an additional waiver, as well as students and families signing a “pledge” that they will take health safety precautions seriously both on and off the field of play.  Participant disregard for the required safety protocols will result in immediate removal from the practice/event, and may result in suspension or removal from a team.  The Ohio High School Athletic Association has released several guidance documents over the past two weeks in relation to sport specific safety protocols.  We have been reviewing those guidelines with our local Health Department Officials and updating our protocols accordingly. Practice for all Fall sports and Band officially begins today!  Please contact Mr. Richard Guimond (rguimond@athenscsd.org), Athens City School District Athletic Director for specific questions about our athletic programs.



How will we decide when to return to any form of in-person schooling?  This decision will be made based on multiple factors, including input from our local and state health departments and other medical professionals, data related to the spread of the virus in our region, and the District’s ability to adjust operations to provide as safe a learning environment as possible.  We have already ordered many of the required supplies and PPE and are developing very specific cleaning, sanitizing, visitation, attendance, and response protocols for when we can return to in-person schooling.  While we have committed to having our main core instruction online for the first grading period of the school year, we anticipate being able to pilot small group in-person activities with students and staff on a voluntary basis by mid-September.  We have already started discussions within our Administrative Team and with the Athens Education Association about this concept.  Pilot projects with small groups of students will allow us to test out safety protocols and gradually build up our ability to function in-person on an increasing basis over time. Priority for pilot projects will be for our most at-risk learners, early learning, and courses with lab or workshop components that are difficult to replicate in an online format.



Thank you to each of our families for your patience and understanding as we continue to work through the specific details of online instruction, as well as our plans for slowly returning to in-person instruction.  We look forward to sharing more specific details with you in the coming weeks.



Please accept my wishes for good health for each and every member of our Athens City School District family!

 

Update: July 24, 2020 (ACSD Kindergarten Registration: Revised Directions for 2020-2021)

 

In-person Kindergarten Registration and Screening events have been cancelled.  Please follow the steps listed below to complete the registration process for your incoming kindergartener.

 

Directions for ACSD Kindergarten Registration 2020-2021

 

Registration Process

  1. Fill out all registration forms online via FinalForms.
    1. If you have older student(s) already enrolled at ACSD, you received an email from mailman@finalforms.com last spring with your account login and you can add your new kindergartner from that account.
    2. If you have only a new kindergartner to ACSD or are new to the district, you will create a new account using the link and directions below.
      1. URL: https://athens-oh.finalforms.com
      2. Directions: Final Forms Parent Playbook
      3. FAQ: FinalForms FAQ for ACSD
  2. If possible, scan or take photos of the required documents and upload them to FinalForms.
    1. Child identification
    2. Student's Immunization Records
    3. Proof of Residency
  3. Sign up for an appointment to provide legal Residential Parent/Guardian Driver's License or State Issued ID Card.  If you can not upload your other required documents to FinalForms, you can bring those to the appointment as well.
    1. Request an ACSD Elementary Registration Appointment
  4. The nursing team will be in touch regarding any additional immunizations that are necessary once they review your child's immunization records and will communicate vision and hearing once this is finalized.

 

Please Note:

  • Your child MUST BE 5 YEARS OLD ON OR BEFORE August 1, 2020 to be eligible for registration.

 

Required Documentation List:

  • 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 kindergartner 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.

FinalForms Upload Documentation

 

Update: July 16, 2020 (ACSD School Nurses' Statement Regarding Return to School for Fall 20-21)

 

Please click here to view the video message of the statement from the ACSD School Nurses regarding the return to school for fall 20-21.  Additionally, the text of the message is below:

 

My name is Molly Wales, and I work with Heidi Shaw.  We are the TWO licensed school nurses for ACSD, and Heidi is the President Elect of the Ohio Association of School Nurses.  In addition to programs such as the food pantry, staff wellness, and health education, we oversee the daily health of students at all six schools within the district – Preschool, East/West elementary, Morrison-Gordon Elementary, The Plains Elementary, the Middle School, and the High School (roughly 2400 students).


If we go back to in-person education, Heidi and I will be on the front lines of caring for sick individuals, both students and staff.  We will be in charge of creating and implementing policies in an effort to keep everyone as safe as possible. We will be among those who have to dress in full PPE and sit in a small enclosed room with kids with fevers.  
 

Given that we are the only medical professionals in the district, with years of experience on the ground at all six schools, Heidi and I are uniquely qualified to speak to the medical needs of our students.  We prepared this statement to give the Board the school nurses’ perspective, as you weigh the decision about whether to return to school in person, or go entirely online. 
 

Heidi and I have reviewed the ODE Reset & Restart Guidelines, and the Big 8 + Health & Safety Coalition (which is a best practice outline from the Big 8 school districts in the state of Ohio + Ohio Association of School Nurses Executive Team).  We have talked with other school nurses throughout the country and state, talked with parents, including one who is a physician working in a COVID ICU in Columbus, read countless science journals, and met with regional health professionals.  
 

Together, we have brainstormed how to implement each of the health recommendations, given how the needs of our district differ from those of bigger cities, or those with more nurses or larger budgets.  And over and over, we reach the same conclusion:  that from our perspective as your school nurses, we feel it is unsafe if we return to in-person education.  If we congregate in buildings, even in reduced numbers, there are so many barriers to effective infection control* that we cannot, in good conscience, tell parents that their children will be safe or that staff will be safe resuming their normal work responsibilities.
 

Every district in the nation is currently confronting barriers to infection control (for example, how to keep children socially distanced at all times). We are addressing just a few of those here, with concern for barriers specific to ACSD.  
 

Dr. Sally Goza, the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics stated Weds, ?, “the decisions on when and how to reopen need to consider a variety of factors, but a big one is the level of virus in the community.”  As we all know, infection rates in Athens are rising *very* rapidly right now. The Athens bubble that kept us safe throughout the summer, has burst. We cannot predict what is coming, but as OU students return, the numbers are likely to increase far beyond what we’ve seen so far.  It is not a matter of “if” we see COVID in our schools, it is a matter of “when,” and how hard do we get hit.

 

It is also true that we don’t yet have a thorough understanding of this virus, so it is likely to change in ways that will catch us off guard.  During flu season, we know what we’re looking for, and we know how to stop the spread - but with COVID, we are learning as we go.  Our understanding of symptoms to look out for, who is affected, and how to prevent the spread,  is constantly evolving.  How do we, as your nurses, make guidelines to keep the children safe, when we aren’t even sure what “safe” means in this situation? 
 

Another barrier to infection control in our district, is that we have two nurses for six buildings.  Because Heidi and I cannot be everywhere at once, secretaries and paraprofessionals run the clinics in our absence.  Even in normal, non-pandemic times, this asks a lot of those people.  Clinic traffic can be constant.  But now, according to the ODE recommendations, in addition to the clinic, we should have a COVID room (where students with potential symptoms would wait to be picked up by their parents), and potentially even a third location for medication administration.  It was also recommended that, if a student felt ill in class, the nurse should go to the student, instead of having the student walk to the clinic.  So, according to this model, there should be two to three full-time people in each building appointed to health care.  This makes a lot of sense.  But, I remind you, we have six buildings and two nurses.  Which means that non-medical professionals will be asked to do the work of caring for potentially infectious children.
 

How do we make that work?  
 

This is another barrier.  If a nurse can’t always be present, then we must have water-tight guidelines that ensure that these aides and secretaries NEVER have to make a medical judgment call.  And the only way we can figure out how to do this, is to say that any child who exhibits or complains of *any* of the symptoms on the COVID list, must be sent home immediately and cannot return for 14 days.  Those symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Confusion
  • And more

 

Normally, if a child comes to the clinic saying they have a belly ache, or asks to rest because their head hurts, we talk to them about how they’re feeling and give them a quiet place to rest - and much of the time, they go back to class feeling fine, problem solved.  But no more.  Since we - nurses, parapros, or whoever is attending that child in the clinic - cannot differentiate between a Covid sore throat and a throat that is scratchy from allergies, if a child tells us their throat hurts, we will send them home with instructions not to return for 14 days. According to the CDC and the Athens City-County Health Department, even if the student or staff member receives a negative test, they will still be required to stay home for the 14 day minimum because the test can’t be relied on 100%.
 

I’m sure teachers are thinking, but then no one will ever be in school!  That is our concern as well.  But in the effort to keep everyone - students, staff, families - as safe as possible, we will act conservatively and decisively, erring every single time on the side of caution. 
 

And let’s not let the issue of student health overshadow that of staff health.  We don’t have time to go into it here, but staff health is of equal concern. 

 

We all go home to friends and families.  Even if we personally are not in high-risk categories, that does not mean our loved ones are safe from what we might bring home.
 

One more issue to consider is PPE (personal protective equipment).  Heidi and I have not yet sat down to figure out exactly what we need and in what quantities, but in general, we will need PPE for students, teachers, bus drivers, custodians, secretaries, cafeteria workers, special education teachers, paraprofessionals, nurses, administrators, etc.  Depending on the person and their exposure, this can range from just needing a mask, to needing N95 masks, eye protection, face shields, gloves, and gowns.  And to follow best practice, NONE OF THIS would be able to be reused, meaning these costs would be everyday.  In addition, we need truly reliable thermometers, a couple for each building.  All of these things tend to be expensive, and in short supply, but we must not cut corners in this regard. Thousands of dollars will need to be spent just to reopen the buildings. 
 

In addition to the concerns I’ve already raised, there are many, many more things to consider.  For the sake of time, let’s look at what is likely to be a typical scenario within the first few days of school:
 

A second grader at Morrison tells his teacher he isn’t feeling well.  The teacher calls the clinic, and the newly appointed clinic aide goes to the child after they “gown up” in head-to-toe PPE. He has a 102 degree fever. The aide (who, I remind you, does not have a medical background), takes the child to the Covid room, and sits in that closed room with the child, waiting for their grandparent, who may or may not show up promptly. In the mean time, what about the child’s teachers? Their classmates?  Their bus mates? How many people were exposed, and what do we do about it? Do we have the right to alert families, and if so, how?  How many confirmed cases of Covid will it take to shut down a classroom?  A whole school?  What if multiple teachers in one building come down with it, or their families do, and they have to stay home for weeks?  What if Heidi, I, and the clinic staff get caught in an outbreak?  Who will run the clinics then, and who will be training them on a moment’s notice?  
 

How do we possibly prepare ourselves so that we are not caught UNDER-prepared, and understaffed?
 

We understand that many, if not most parents are in a very, very tricky situation, having to juggle children and jobs.  And Heidi and I are, like all of you, very worried about our most at-risk kids.  Our kids who are falling behind, who are hungry, unsafe, or experiencing other kinds of trauma without school as a safe place to land.  We are worried about them, and we are ready to do what we must to take care of them.  But without physical health, there is no learning.  Without physical health, there is no mental health.  And maybe, instead of spending our time and resources scrambling to implement infection control that isn’t likely to work well given our limitations, we could instead put our energy into finding creative, realistic, and interactive ways to support our most at-risk kids within the safety of their homes.  Dr. Gibbs recently had an idea that we think would make the very best out of this awful and unpredictable situation: might the nurses, counselors, paraprofessionals and others team up and concentrate our efforts on meeting the psychosocial (emotional and mental well being) needs of our most vulnerable kids?  That seems like a much wiser option than spreading ourselves thin attempting to manage infections among thousands of students and staff.
 

You, board members, are making this call.  And if you decide to do in-person learning, Heidi and I will work tirelessly to do our very best.  But we want to be clear:  From your school nurses’ perspectives, a return to the buildings is irresponsible and unsafe, for students, staff, and every single individual in our district.
 

We would be glad to talk more about this with any of you. Thank you for your time and attention.

 

Molly Wales RN BSN & Heidi Shaw RN

Licensed School Nurses
Athens City School District

 

Update: July 15, 2020 (Return to School Information)

The Athens City School District Board of Education held a Special Board Meeting on Monday evening to hear input from teachers, support personnel, school nurses, and Mr. Jack Pepper from the Athens City-County Health Department regarding plans for returning to school in-person for the coming school year.  All individuals who presented to the Board made a plea for remaining in an online learning format for at least the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year.  The Board appeared to be in consensus to support beginning the year in an online format, however some members did express concern about making any commitment to be online the entire school year for all students and wanted to further consider what information would be taken into account in making any further decisions about when students would return to school in person.  Additionally, concerns were expressed about whether the District should consider changing plans earlier if conditions change significantly over the next two months.


Based upon information I have reviewed to date, input I have received from others, and the conversation at our Board Meeting on Monday, it is my intent to recommend the following for return to school for the Fall Semester 2020:

 
  • Full online instruction for all students for Fall Semester 2020.  
  • Reassess the conditions of the current health emergency during the month of November 2020 to determine if face-to-face instruction can begin at the return from Winter Break.  Any decision for Winter Semester 2020-2021 would be based upon recent COVID cases and activity, as well as input from local health officials and educational professionals.
  • Make a commitment to provide an online learning environment for those students who are at high risk or whose family feels it is necessary to remain in an online format for the entire school year.  If it is deemed possible to return to school in-person for the second semester, families would be able to choose to remain online through the end of the school year.
  • Recommend a change to school calendar to allow August 17- August 28 as Teacher/Staff Professional Development.  Students would return to school on August 31.  This would not require days to be added to the end of the school year.
  • Consider targeted outreach with possible limited face-to-face instruction for specific therapies and educational programming for our most at-risk learners on Individualized Education Plans.
  • Work with our new Food Service Director to improve on the quality of meals provided to students.  Consider food pickup points to reduce confusion of delivery and to be able to provide more nutritious meals to students.
  • Train Paraprofessionals to work as "case workers" who would be assigned students with whom to make direct contact who may not be attending school or may need additional organizational support and guidance.  Paraprofessionals could recommend students for other services as deemed necessary.  Paraprofessionals may also provide additional educational service delivery to individuals or small groups of students using online video conferencing.
  • Reassign specific teachers to assist April Stewart, Director of Remote Instruction, with teacher support and professional development on an ongoing basis throughout the semester.
  • Identify non-tech resources and materials students may need at home in order to more effectively complete course assignments (i.e. manipulative for mathematics, journals, art supplies, etc.) and work in collaboration with ODJFS and other community partners to assure all students have these materials.
  • Charge building principals with having more direct and clear oversight for setting educational expectations for teachers and students and assuring that each teacher is providing the required educational support. This will require identifying teachers who may need additional tech support and working with Mrs. Stewart to arrange for that support.  The intent is to provide the necessary training and tech support for teachers and students to be successful in an online learning format.


The Athens City School District Faculty, Staff, and Administration understand and agree that online instruction as implemented in Spring 2020 was commendable given the emergency nature of the situation, however we all also understand that we can and will need to provide a more rigorous academic experience this Fall Semester to assure continued learning and growth for all of our students.  As such, student attendance will be required and will need to be taken on a daily basis, grades will be taken as if the class were in person and student grades will be used to calculate GPA for class rank and future athletic eligibility, and a more routine daily schedule must be in place for every student in every course.  Direct interaction between students and teachers is a must.  While previously recorded lessons may be used for instruction, some level of synchronous distance learning must occur on a daily basis.


I wanted our families to have this information as soon as possible.  The Board of Education will need to vote on and approve these plans at the Regular Board Meeting on July 23, 2020.  I will communicate final decisions to all families following the July Board Meeting.


I hope each of you and the members of your family remain healthy and well.

 

Update: July 9, 2020

 

​The Athens City School District Board of Education will be meeting on July 13th, 2020 at 6:30 P.M. to conduct a Special 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:


Join Zoom Meeting: https://bricker.zoom.us/j/96987271335
Dial-In Number: 301 715 8592

​Meeting ID: 969 8727 1335

 

In order to accommodate public participation, anyone wishing to provide comment to the Board must notify Dr. Gibbs at 740-797-4544 or tgibbs@athenscsd.org no later than noon on July 13, 2020.


The primary intention of this meeting is for the Board to consider information related to the return to school for the 2020-2021 school year and have discussion on that topic, as well as other business that may come before the Board.

 

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). 

 

Reference Documents:​

 

 

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


​Directions:

  • 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 mailman@finalforms.com 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.

 

Please Note:

  • 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

 

Location:

  • 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.

Upload Documentation Option

 

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).

 

  1. Category 1: I have 7th-12th grade student athlete(s) who are currently enrolled students at ACSD.
    1. You will log in to the account you have  been using to register your student(s) for athletics.
    2. https://athens-oh.finalforms.com
  2. Category 2: I have student(s) who are currently enrolled at ACSD but NOT 7th-12th grade student athletes.
    1. You will receive an email message from mailman@finalforms.com
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Please click here for the directions for current/returning students.
  3. 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.
    1. If you do not have an email address on file, please send an email to registration@athenscsd.org.  We can then add your email address to the system and send you an activation email from Final Forms.
  4. Category 4: I have a preschool or kindergarten student or we just moved here and are new to the district.
    1. You will need to set up a new account.
    2. 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:

 

  1. As a news item on the district website news section.
  2. On the ACSD COVID-19 Closure Landing Page.
  3. Sent out as a push notification via the ACSD mobile app (free download available to anyone - see details below).
  4. 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!


ACSD Be The Light Graphic

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 mailman@finalforms.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:
    • If your child(ren) is/are new to the district or an incoming kindergarten student for the 20-21 school year, you will need to sign up for an account with your current email address.  
    • Directions: ACSD Final Forms Parent Playbook for New Students

 

Questions?
Please email registration@athenscsd.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 tgibbs@athenscsd.org 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.

www.ohio.edu/mappathens

 
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 google@athenscsd.org.

For tech questions related to the Chromebook device itself, please contact our technology department at acs.techhelp@athenscsd.org 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 campus@athenscsd.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.  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 google@athenscsd.org 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). 


Google:  google@athenscsd.org
Technical:  acs.techhelp@athenscsd.org

Campus: campus@athenscsd.org


Student Google Account Support
google@athenscsd.org

Examples of Questions for this Account:

  • What is my login information?
  • My Google account is being recognized.
  • My Google account is not working properly

 

Technical Support
Email: acs.techhelp@athenscsd.org
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
campus@athenscsd.org

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.

 

Update: March 22, 2020

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.

 

Update: March 19, 2020

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.

 

Update: March 16, 2020

It is important that parents/guardians complete THIS SURVEY as quickly as possible.
 

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.

 

Update: March 15, 2020

Updated INTRA-District 20-21 Open Enrollment Dates: April 13-23, 2020 - Details regarding registration will be forthcoming.

 

Update: March 13, 2020

All school offices and the district central office will be closed Monday, March 16th - Wednesday, March 18th.

 

Update: March 12, 2020

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.

 

Update: March 10, 2020

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.
 

The missed school days will be accounted for in the following manner:

  • Use 3 remaining calamity days.
  • Make up 2 days on April 10th and April 13th.
  • Recommend to the Board of Education to change the student calendar to allow for the remaining 5 days to be for teacher work days and not counted as student attendance hours.  This is possible because our students attend school for many hours beyond the state requirements. 

 

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.

Athens City School District  |  PO Box 9 (21 Birge Dr.)  |  Chauncey, OH 45719
Phone:740-797-4544  |  Fax:740-797-2486