ACS Coronavirus Update Center
Message to Parents regarding eLearning
Grace, change and connections: Moving forward together through eLearning the “One Athens” way
Updated March 29, 2020
As we move forward with our plans to transition all of our students in grades K-12 to eLearning for the remainder of the school year, we want to share a brief overview of what the next few weeks will look like for Athens City Schools families.
SPRING BREAK First, we want our families to enjoy Spring Break the week of March 30 - April 3. Our entire school community is experiencing stress, anxiety and worry as a result of the current public health situation. We encourage parents, students and teachers to enjoy this time, relax as much as possible and take a deep breath before we begin our next chapter as a school community.
THE FIRST 5 DAYS - MAKING CONNECTIONS When students return to learning on Monday, April 6, we want you to know this will be a soft opening into the eLearning experience. This will be a time of adjustment to our new learning reality, and we want to ease our teachers, students and parents into this new realm with an emphasis on reconnection. The primary focus during eLearning will be clearly established during this first week - as a school system, we will intentionally focus on creating connections and the social-emotional health of our students.
THE REMAINDER OF THE SCHOOL YEAR - KEEP IT SIMPLE Beginning Monday, April 13, a flexible and modified version of academic eLearning will begin for all students. We are working to make eLearning digestible and manageable for all families. Teachers will be working to keep things simple by prioritizing the most essential skills and standards for their grade level.
A ripple of heartache moved through our school community when we all heard the news that we would not be returning to campus this year. There was no opportunity for proper “goodbyes,” and the proverbial rug seemed to be pulled from under our collective feet. However, what we have seen in the days since the announcement is a wave of emotion that extinguishes that heartache - and that wave is one of love. Love for our children, our teachers, our parents, our schools and our community. The good news is this - love wins.
One thing is certain in Athens - our students and our people are our most important priority. At the end of this chapter, when our sense of normalcy has returned, we will be able to look back at this time and be proud that we, as a community, met this challenge with respect for our common humanity and with deep, abiding grace. Grace for our students, grace for our teachers, grace for our parents and grace for ourselves. We believe that if we put people first, imbue our work with optimism, approach our challenges with humility, remain flexible, practice patience and show grace to everyone that we will learn through this together and emerge better and brighter than ever before.
Kindergarten Registration Deadline Extension
Updated March 26, 2020
Given the current circumstances due to the public health crisis brought on by COVID-19, Athens City Schools is extending the deadline for kindergarten registration and the kindergarten out-of-zone academy lottery. Parents may continue to register for kindergarten and/or out-of-zone academy placement until further notice. We will update parents with a new registration deadline as new information becomes available. The kindergarten lottery will be conducted on May 13. Register online at www.acs-k12.org/kindergarten
Extended State of Emergency (Online School Through End of the School Year)
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Today Governor Kay Ivey extended the State of Emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic and announced students will not go back to a physical school for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
- All students (grades K-12) will begin e-learning or distance learning from home beginning Monday, April 6.
- Online (or distance) learning is being implemented to continue learning, graduate seniors and prevent “summer slide.”
- Dr. Eric Mackey, state superintendent of schools, said they (the Alabama State Department of Education) will do all they can to make sure Alabama seniors graduate this year.
- Students with special needs will maintain an IEP to continue their education and learning.
- Dr. Mackey said he is extending the official end of the school year to June 5 as needed.
- All sports and band activities are canceled through June 5.
- Our hope is that special events such as graduation and prom can be rescheduled as public health circumstances improve.
While this is difficult news for many families to take in, it is important to keep in mind that these extraordinary measures are being put in place to guard public health and protect human life. The health and safety of our students is paramount.
Our local school system will make staffing decisions and determinations related to access to school buildings in accordance with all applicable public health orders and the recommendations of the CDC and the ADPH. Athens City Schools (ACS) administrators and leaders are already working to have plans in place that will serve every student in our system.
Dr. Holladay and his team will be working with the State Department of Education over the next several days to determine what this will look like for our students, parents, teachers and staff. As new information becomes available, we will share it with you.
During this unprecedented time of change and adjustment, we want to remind our school community that we are in a great position to make this move to continue the learning experience for all of our students. Online eLearning is not a new concept for ACS, but rather an extension of a solid platform that we have been building over the last several years. While online learning it is not new to us, the scope is. This adjustment will require patience and a generous grace period for students, parents and teachers alike. While making the switch to eLearning for all students (K-12) will be a new experience for us as a school family, please trust that we will get through this together.
AHS STORM SHELTER CLOSED
UPDATED MARCH 23, 2020
The Athens High School storm shelter will NOT be open to the public during severe weather events until further notice. We look forward to providing shelter to our community once again when it is safe after the coronavirus public health crisis has passed.
MESSAGE TO PARENTS - SCHOOL CLOSING FOR STATE OF EMERGENCY BREAK
UPDATED MARCH 18, 2020
Dear ACS Family,
We hope this letter will provide you with important information during this unprecedented time of change. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, our campuses will be closed after today until further notice with the exception of limited staff to maintain necessary operations.
Teachers will not be delivering active instruction over the next two weeks, and students are not expected to complete any school work. However, in an effort to provide resources to parents and students who are interested in working at their own pace, teachers may post optional work for students through their online classroom platforms (Canvas, Google Classroom and SeeSaw). This work is meant only to serve as a support to families who wish to use it. Teachers will be observing the Spring Break holiday between March 30-April 3.
We have created a website that is dedicated to helping parents and students gain a better understanding of eLearning in ACS. The site includes a Frequently Asked Questions section for parents. We will answer questions and update this as often as possible. We hope you find the parent site helpful.
Visit the ACS eLearning Website at acs-k12.org/elearning.
We will continue to provide free community meal service through March 27. The Full Tummy Project will distribute food items on Wednesday, April 1, from Athens Middle School. Details will come next week. You can find the meal distribution schedule, locations and other important updates at acs-k12.org/coronavirus.
The State Superintendent's office will make a determination and recommendation on the possible extension of school closure by March 30. We will update you as information becomes available.
- If during the break you have questions that are urgent and need attention, please email one of the following:
We wish you and your family well during the break, and we strongly encourage everyone to continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines and recommendations for social distancing, good hygiene and travel. We will miss seeing our students and families. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay connected.
Athens City Schools
Athens City Schools Community Meal Service Update -
New Locations Starting Thursday, March 19
UPDATED MARCH 18, 2020
Update: New grab-and-go locations start tomorrow, Thursday, March 19.
We encourage EVERYONE age 18 and younger to participate! Meals are FREE!
THURSDAY, MARCH 19 THROUGH FRIDAY, MARCH 27
- DATES: Thursday, March 19 through Friday, March 27 (Weekdays only. No weekend distribution.)
- TIME: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
10 AM - 12 PM
Athens Elementary School (Clinton St. Campus)
601 S. Clinton St.
Athens, AL 35611
*Located on the corner of S. Clinton St. and Forrest St.
810 N. Malone St.
Athens, AL 35611
*Located on the corner of N. Malone and 5th Ave.
- Meals will be available at the two locations listed above (AES and The Haven)
- Meals will be distributed “Grab-and-Go” style (drive up or walk up)
- We will provide 2 meals daily (1 breakfast and 1 lunch meal)
- There must be at least 1 person in the vehicle (or walking) who is 18 or younger
- At the grab-and-go, you will tell us the number of meals needed for children (18 and younger) in your household
- All children 18 and younger can receive food AT NO COST whether they are an ACS student or not
WEEK OF SPRING BREAK (MARCH 30-APRIL 3) . We will notify our school community and post information to social media when the details are finalized.
SCHOOLS OPEN MONDAY, MARCH 16. ELEARNING IS OPTIONAL ON MONDAY, TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY. CAMPUSES CLOSED TO STUDENTS BEGNINNING TUESDAY, MARCH 17. ALL SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED COMPLETELY (NO ELEARNING) BEGINNING THURSDAY, MARCH 19.
UPDATED MARCH 15, 2020
- All ACS schools will go to Level 2 eLearning on Tuesday and Wednesday (no students at school).
- Level 2 eLearning means that students DO NOT report to school. Teachers and staff report to campus and will be available to support parents and students with eLearning assignments as students work from home Tuesday and Wednesday.
- Beginning Thursday, March 19, all ACS schools are closed completely for 2 weeks. There will be no eLearning during this time.
- The tentative return date for students is April 6. This date is subject to change. We will update our students and families as information becomes available.
- We understand that everything is changing quickly, and we thank you for your patience as we navigate this crisis.
- As a clarification - you may choose to send your child to school on Monday or keep him/her at home. eLearning is available on Monday as an option if you choose to use it. If you choose to use it, simply email your homeroom teacher for details on eLearning.
ACS OFFERS ELEARNING OPTION FOR STUDENTS FOR MONDAY-WEDNESDAY NEXT WEEK
UPDATED MARCH 14, 2020
- Athens City Schools (ACS) will be open and classes will be in session Monday, March 16 through Wednesday, March 18. During these three days, ACS will offer eLearning as an option for students and families.
- eLearning days will not count against a student’s attendance or exam exemption. eLearning days are available to any student by request. There is no need to fill out a form.
- Parents and students in grades K-8 can request eLearning days by contacting their student's homeroom teacher. Teachers will arrange the best method for receiving assignments.
- Students in grades 9-12 will find assignments in Canvas, the ACS online Learning Management System (LMS). Students should use their GMail account for all communications with Athens High School.
- Teacher email addresses are available on each school’s website. Parents in grades K-5 can contact their teacher through SeeSaw as well.
- Beginning Thursday, March 19, all ACS schools will be closed under Governor Kay Ivey’s State of Emergency and per the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) mandate. Schools will remain closed for a minimum of 2 weeks. The ALSDE will determine a return date in the coming weeks, and families will be notified as information becomes available. Currently, the plan for ACS is to return following the scheduled Spring Break holiday.
- ACS strongly encourages families and employees to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations concerning travel.
- ACS will continue to follow the lead of the State of Alabama, Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the CDC.
- Because this is an ever-evolving situation, ACS asks that parents monitor the district website and social media periodically for updates.
STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARED. SCHOOLS WILL CLOSE BEGINNING MARCH 19 UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.
UPDATED MARCH 13, 2020
- Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has declared a State of Emergency in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Effective at the close of business on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Athens City Schools (ACS), along with all schools in the state, will close for 2.5 weeks.
- There will be no eLearning days.
- There will be no school-related activities from the end of business Wednesday, March 18 until further notice.
- Under a State of Emergency, these school days will be forgiven and no makeup days will be required.
- The Governor’s office, along with the Alabama Department of Public Health and the State Superintendent’s office, will reevaluate some time during the week of March 30. They will make a decision concerning a return date for students.
- We will update our families when new information is made available.
- As a community connected by education, the school district’s primary concern is always for the well-being of all students and employees. We encourage our school community to continue to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on good hygiene, travel and social distancing.
UPDATED MARCH 9, 2020
- We strongly encourage our ACS family to follow the CDC recommendations concerning travel. You can click on the interactive map to find the area to which you plan to travel to find the latest travel health information. Please keep in mind that this information is updated often by the CDC. We are closely monitoring our field trips and will make adjustments as needed to ensure student and employee safety to the best of our ability. We are following the lead of the State of Alabama, Alabama Department of Public Health and the CDC.
THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS: MESSAGE TO ACS FAMILIES
UPDATED MARCH 3, 2020