ACS Coronavirus Update Center
COVID UPDATE FOR ACS FAMILIES
November 18, 2020
Dear Athens City Schools Families:
As we approach the holiday season, I want to express my sincere appreciation for all you’ve done during these unprecedented times to support us in keeping schools open and focusing on wellness and safety. We continue to have a relatively low number of COVID-19 positive cases, and we are encouraged by the fact that we have not seen the virus spread within our schools.
We’re all trying so hard to keep school open and to support our extracurricular activities because we know how important these components are for mental and physical wellness. We do consistently see a spike in positive cases following parties and holidays, so I encourage everyone to wear masks and practice social distancing as much as possible during the holiday season.
Here are some important reminders:
- If your child has symptoms or tests positive, he/she must quarantine for 10 days.
- If your child is a close contact (within 6 feet, for at least 15 minutes, within 48 hours) of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or has lost sense of taste/smell, he/she must quarantine for 14 days.
- Your child CANNOT test out of quarantine. Even with a negative test, the 14 day rule applies.
- Students who have COVID-19-like symptoms and receive an alternative diagnosis from their healthcare provider (and those close contacts) may return to school immediately. A written physician’s note is required. A negative COVID-19 test is not an alternative diagnosis.
- Students who test positive or are in quarantine CANNOT attend any school functions. Please stay home if you have symptoms or are in quarantine.
- You may choose remote learning for your child at any point. We are happy to work with you to help determine what is best for your child and your family.
Our primary concern, as always, is the personal safety and health of our students, faculty, staff and community. We thank you for your continued commitment to helping mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our schools and community!
Beth Patton, Interim Superintendent
Athens City Schools
COVID-19 GUIDELINES FOR EXPOSURE & POSITIVE CASES
August 11, 2020
Note: These are general guidelines that are subject to change. Each case will be assessed individually.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I GET SICK?
The 10 day limit for excused absences without a physician’s excuse has been waived for this school year. Attendance will not be a factor in final exam exemptions.
A PERSON SHOWS SYMPTOMS AT SCHOOL
- If a student or adult begins to show signs of illness at school, the individual will be isolated from others in a pre-designated room and sent home.
- The extent of symptoms will determine if others who may have been in close contact should also be sent home to self-quarantine.
THE DEFINITION OF CLOSE CONTACT
- Close Contact is defined as individuals who have been within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes, with or without a mask. (Timing begins 2 days before symptoms appear or positive COVID-19 test date).
- Seating Charts will be utilized in all classrooms and on buses to help determine potential close contacts.
A PERSON TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID
- If COVID-19 is confirmed, the positive person must quarantine for 10 days- being fever-free for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medications (or as directed by ADPH or a family physician).
- Symptoms must have improved before returning to school.
- Close contacts should self-quarantine for 14 days from exposure.
- Severely immunocompromised persons and persons with severe illness should follow the specific guidance provided by the ADPH and CDC.
- *Parents or employees should contact the school immediately to report a positive COVID-19 test result.
A PERSON SHOWS SYMPTOMS WHILE AWAY FROM SCHOOL
- If a student or adult becomes symptomatic, he or she should see a healthcare provider to determine if it is COVID-19.
- Individuals with symptoms should quarantine for 14 days if they are not tested or if the test is negative (in case of false negative).
- *Parents or employees should contact the school immediately to report potential COVID-19 symptoms.
POTENTIAL EXPOSURE GUIDELINES
- If the school suspects potential exposure to COVID-19, parents will be notified to the extent possible and practical.
- This may be a phone call or brief note. Due to HIPPA laws, very little information can be released.
- However, we intend to be as proactive and transparent as possible to help stop the spread. We are not contact tracers.
- It is the responsibility of the ADPH to interview those who test positive and to call individuals who may have been in close contact with the positive case.
- Off-campus exposures, including carpool situations, are the responsibility of ADPH to notify. Parents should notify those in the carpool immediately.
ATHENS CITY SCHOOLS TECHNOLOGY UPDATE
August 5, 2020
Athens City Schools (ACS) is proud to be a technology leader in North Alabama. The PowerUp program, a 1:1 Apple device initiative, began in August of 2013 with the purpose of providing a challenging, dynamic academic program for all students that integrates the best of traditional education with new and emerging technologies. Meeting the needs of a new generation of learners by increasing student access to computer technology aligns with our vision of being a high quality, innovative school system.
In order to stay current and provide our students with the latest technology, the Athens City Board of Education, in June of this year, approved the purchase of new devices for every student to use during the 2020-2021 school year. ACS immediately ordered iPads and cases with keyboards. These devices were originally promised to be delivered prior to the first day of school. The district was recently notified that the devices and cases are back-ordered due to increased demand worldwide and an overall delay in the supply chain. ACS is not alone as other Alabama schools systems are faced with delays in receiving digital devices.
ACS has devices available for students in need but we will not be able to issue every student a device until all ordered iPads and cases are delivered. Our first priority is to issue devices to remote students who do not have a device available for use at home. Traditional students will continue to have access to devices during school hours. To support our families, we will not be charging user fees for the temporary devices until all new iPads have arrived and are issued.
We need your help to make this temporary inconvenience as smooth as possible for all ACS families. Please respond to this survey by Monday, August 10, at 5:00 pm. This survey is for both traditional and remote students:
Click Here: Important Back To School 20-21 Technology Survey
Thank you for your continued support as we work together to make 2020-21 a successful school year.
Full Tummy Project Summer Meal Program Ends July 31.
Updated July 26, 2020
The Full Tummy Project Summer Meal Program is serving drive thru pickup fresh lunches and snacks at Athens Elementary School on Clinton Street from 10 am-12 pm through July 31. This is the schedule:
- Monday, July 27 - Meals from 10-12 at AES
- Wednesday, July 29 - Meals from 10-12 at AES
- Friday, July 31 - Meals from 10-12 at AES - LAST DAY.
Letter to Parents: Back to School Fall 2020
Updated June 26, 2020
We are so excited to begin the 2020-2021 school year! We know many challenges lie ahead, and we look forward to working through those with you and providing a safe and instructionally sound plan for reopening Athens City Schools.
There will be many details to share in the next few weeks. Here are some important things to know:
School will start on August 17 with 2 options:
- Traditional (face to face)
- Remote (students work online from home and teachers regularly check-in and provide virtual instruction) *This is not a commitment for the entire school year. We will establish checkpoints where families can choose to return to traditional learning. Full-time remote instruction will require a greater daily time commitment than was experienced during the last quarter of 2019-2020.
Note: For students who choose traditional learning, a Blended opportunity will also be in place. This will enable students to transition between traditional and remote and back again, which will be crucial if we need to close a classroom or a school for cleaning and disinfecting and/or if your child needs to stay home for an extended amount of time.
We will continue to work with families to determine individual needs.
- We all must work together to help ensure safety by following guidance from the ADPH and CDC. We ask that parents check student temperatures and do not send them to school if 100.4 or greater. Parents should monitor for symptoms daily, including cough, congestion, shortness of breath, or gastrointestinal symptoms. Any positives should be kept home from school. Our attendance policy will be revised and shared at a later date.
- Bus services will continue. Students must not enter a bus if exhibiting symptoms as noted above. Additional safety measures will be in place.
Safety comes first! As information from public health leadership changes, our procedures may need to change.
I know you have many questions, and my goal is to provide answers as accurately and timely as possible so you can confidently make the best decision for your family. A Google Form is located on the ACS website to collect frequently asked questions. To submit a question, please visit acs-k12.org/backtoschoolFAQ
We will ask families to decide if remote learning will be desired by July 24. A process to sign up will be forthcoming from your child’s school.
Beth Patton, Interim Superintendent
Athens City Schools
- Full Tummy Project Summer Feeding Program
- Updated May 28, 2020
- The Full Tummy Project Summer Feeding Program is serving drive thru pickup fresh lunches and snacks three days a week (every Monday, Wednesday and Friday) from June 1 - July 31, 2020 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm at Athens Elementary School located at 601 S. Clinton St., Athens, AL 35611. The Full Tummy Summer Feeding Program operates in partnership with the Food Bank of North Alabama. Follow The Full Tummy Project on Facebook for updates and reminders.
- WHERE: Athens Elementary School
- WHEN: Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from June 1-July 31
- JUNE 1-JULY 31
DAY TIME Monday 10-12 Wednesday 10-12 Friday 10-12
- Free & Low-Cost Internet Options for Families
- Updated April 6, 2020
- Athens City Schools families/households may wish to take advantage of current free offers by internet providers or the districts WiFi on the Go program. Athens City Schools accepts no responsibility for any payment, lack of content filter or obligations of these services.
- Charter/Spectrum - Click Here for more information
- WiFi on the Go! Click Here for more information
- Personal Hotspots through your cellular provider can provide internet access at a minimal cost.
- eLearning Day 1: Reminder to Stay Connected & Participate in Spirit Week
- Updaed April 6
- Hello parents and students! We are excited to connect with you today! This is a friendly reminder to look for messages from your teacher. Check your email and SeeSaw, Canvas and Google Classroom accounts for messages and instructions from teachers.
- Today is the first day of Spirit Week, and students will get to share their “Move Over Corona” dance moves through their online classroom platform (SeeSaw, Canvas or Google Classroom)! This is the only assignment for today.
For K-5, if you haven’t signed up for SeeSaw yet, please do! You can access SeeSaw online from your personal desktop/laptop/MacBook or download the apps for your smartphone/tablet. You will need the SeeSaw FAMILY app/account to receive messages from your child’s teacher. You will post your Spirit Week participation video/image assignment in SeeSaw.
If you are not receiving emails, please contact your child’s homeroom teacher. We want to be sure we have the best contact information for each parent/student. Teacher email addresses are on each school website. You can look under “Teachers” or under “Contact Us” on your school’s website to find your teacher. All ACS email addresses follow this format: email@example.com (example, firstname.lastname@example.org). Or you can simply email email@example.com and we will get you connected with your teacher.
We will be reaching out to families this week to get everyone connected, so please make sure you’re answering calls from our schools and returning messages. Beginning today, April 6, school phones will be answered Monday through Thursday between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm. Please call if you want to speak with someone from your school. Find ACS school phone numbers at https://www.acs-k12.org/Page/2046. We are very excited to get everyone connected!
Remember to post your “Move Over Corona” dance moves on social media. On Facebook, tag Athens City Schools, and on Twitter use the hashtag #oneathens. Have a super day!
iAcademy at Athens Elementary
FAME Academy at Brookhill
SPARK Academy at Cowart
HEART Academy at Julian Newman
Athens Intermediate School
Athens Middle School
Athens High School
Athens Renaissance School
- eLearning Spirit Week April 6-April 10
- Updated April 2, 2020
- Join us for Spirit Week April 6-April 10! Be creative, have fun and reconnect with our fun Spirit Week themes! 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, and we can sum it up in one word: connection. As a school system, we will intentionally focus on creating connections to address the social-emotional health of our students. To this end, we invite everyone to participate in eLearning Spirit Week April 6-April 10!
- Monday: Move Over Corona (show your best dance moves)
- Tuesday: Until Tomorrow (share an old pic, new pic and describe your future self and your dream)
- Wednesday: All is Ours Day: Wonderful World (take a pic of something in nature and explain why you love it)
- Thursday: Throwback Thursday (share a favorite memory, or a memory from school this year)
- Friday: Favorite Foods Day (share favorite food, recipe, or restaurant)
- Share your moments, videos and images on your online class platforms and social media. Be creative, have fun and reconnect! Use the #oneathens when you share. It's great to be a Golden Eagle!
- 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.
- Kind Regards,
- 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.
- TRAVEL RECOMMENDATIONS
- 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
COVID-19 Guidelines for Exposure & Positive Cases
Roadmap to Reopening: ACS Back to School Plan 2020-2021 We are so excited for the 2020-2021 school year! We know many challenges lie ahead, and we look forward to working through those with you and providing a safe and instructionally sound plan for reopening Athens City Schools. This roadmap serves as a guide and will require updates and revisions throughout the school year.