ACS Back to School Information & FAQ for 2020-2021

  • 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. We know you have many questions, and our goal is to provide answers as accurately and timely as possible so you can confidently make the best decision for your family. Submit your question using the Google Form found on this page. 

    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. 

Back to School FAQ

  • Updated June 29, 2020 - If you have submitted a question and do not see an answer here, then we are still working on it. We will post answers about PreK, Special Education and secondary-specific (Career Tech, etc.) questions as soon as possible. 


    Will student be required to wear masks at school?

    • Currently, it is recommended (but not mandated) if within 6 feet of someone outside your family. There may be times students need masks, but it's not practical to think they will wear them all day.

    What will protocol be if a student or teacher tests positive for COVID?

    • We will follow the protocol set by the ADPH. We will discuss those details closer to time for school to start.

    Will there be temperature checks when students enter the school building?

    • Currently, we are asking parents to monitor for fever and symptoms.

    How will social distancing be maintained in the classroom?

    • Students will practice social distancing to the extent possible in the classroom. We will do our best to follow guidance from ADPH. This will be an ongoing discussion, and more information will be provided closer to the start of school.

    Will class/block changes be staggered to reduce hallway congestion? 

    • Hallway traffic will be staggered.

    Will students who are showing symptoms (coughing, sneezing, etc.) be separated/quarantined?

    • Students who become ill will be placed in a designated area of quarantine with a facial covering in place, and parents will be called.  

    How will school and classrooms be cleaned and sanitized?

    • We will follow CDC and ADPH guidance for sanitation.


    Will students attend school every day under the traditional option?

    • Yes. We are planning for students who choose traditional learning to be able to attend every day.

    Will the length of the school day be the same/normal times from last year?

    • Currently, that is the plan for the traditional option.

    Wil there still be a fall break and spring break?

    • Yes. At this time, we do not plan to change the approved calendar.

    Will students stay in the classroom all day?

    • The level of risk in our area will determine how much time is spent in the classroom. We expect room changes to be limited for a while.

    What are the class sizes going to be like?

    • We anticipate smaller class sizes due to the remote learning option. 

    Will electives be offered, and if so, what will electives look like?

    • We are currently planning to offer electives, but they will look different. For example, the art teacher may need to travel to the child's classroom as opposed to the child traveling to the art room.

    Will students leave the classroom for P.E, music, art and other electives?

    • If students leave the classroom to attend electives, cleaning will occur between classes. It is likely that elective teachers will travel to classrooms.

    Will there be recess?

    • Currently, P.E. and recess could occur with limited numbers and cleaning protocols in place.

    If my child is in the band, what will that look like?

    • We will share information concerning band, choir, etc., once we receive guidance.
    • Your child can participate in Marching Band whether you choose traditional or remote.

    What will lunch look like for students?

    • Breakfast and lunch will most likely be in classrooms until our COVID situation has improved.

    Will you have after school care (latchkey) this year?

    • We are planning to offer latchkey.

    Will school buses still run?

    • State guidance says that buses will still run. We have a team looking at the most effective safety measures.

    Will e-Learning still be an option for students under the traditional option (e-Learning for travel, etc.)?

    • If you choose traditional learning, you would have the possibility of e-Learning days or blended learning, depending on the length of time needed.

    Can a student start traditional school at the beginning of the year and later choose to do remote?

    • Yes, you can change from traditional to remote learning.   

    Will teachers be expected to teach both in-class students and remote? 

    • We will have teachers assigned to traditional or remote learning. We do not expect teachers to do both.

    In the traditional classroom setting, will substitute teachers be trained to handle situations and follow protocols?

    • Substitute teachers will be trained on best practices.


    What does "blended" mean? Can you explain the blended portion a little bit more?

    • "Blended" is part of the traditional option.
    • We ask that you choose between traditional and remote. Choosing blended is not an option.
    • If you choose traditional, you may need to float between traditional and blended.
      • Your child will attend class daily, but will be equipped to go to blended as circumstances dictate.
      • For example, if we have to close a classroom for disinfecting, your child would transition from traditional to blended and then back to traditional.
    • We will release more detailed information soon.

    For the blended option, is remote learning up to the parents' discretion or is this decided by the school? Is there a limit as to how much remote learning can be done?

    • Currently, the blended option is decided by the school if you choose traditional learning.
    • Remote learning can be utilized for the school year, but there will be checkpoints where you can choose to return to traditional school.


    Will remote learning be virtual or online?

    • The remote learning curriculum will be online.

    Will the remote/online option be an option for the entire school year? When would students be allowed/required to join back in the traditional setting?

    • Remote learning is an option for the entire school year, but you will have the option to change if needed. Details will be released soon.

    How many hours a day will be required for remote learning?

    • Details will be released soon, and the amount of time required daily is dependent upon the grade level.
    • Full-time remote instruction will require a greater daily time commitment than was experienced during the last quarter of 2019-2020.

    Will classes begin at a specific time each day or will students be able to complete work at their own pace?

    • Students will be able to work independently, and teachers will have regular check-in times and will provide assistance as needed.

    If we choose remote learning, will the school system supply devices and internet connection?

    • iPads will be available to every student. Please let your principal know if WiFi is needed.

    What is the attendance policy for remote students?

    • The attendance policy for remote learning will be shared soon.

    If we choose the remote learning option, how would sports/band/etc. participation work? For example, if baseball/band is one of our classes, would my child only attend in-person for that period? 

    • Yes, that is the plan.

    How do we enroll/sign-up for remote learning?

    • Instructions will come from your child's school soon.

    How will remote learning work day to day?

    • We will be sending details soon.

    How will parents of remote students be supported?

    • Training for parents of remote students will be offered.

    How will students be graded under remote learning?

    • The details of grading will be released soon.

    Will gifted and talented services be available if students are enrolled in remote learning?

    • A remote option for gifted services will be available to students working remotely.

    Will students be tested for gifted if they choose remote?

    • Any required face-to-face testing will take place following recommended safety guidelines to the greatest extent possible.




Still have a Question?

Alabama State Department of Education Parent Guide & Roadmap to Reopening Schools

If you are having trouble viewing the document, you may download the document.