COVID-19 Resources & News


Janie Sims

An important message from Superintendent Dr. Janie Sims


Greetings to our Hornet friends and family. This past week, the Texas Education Agency released much-anticipated guidelines regarding the upcoming school year. Under these guidelines, parents have the opportunity to choose whether their children will attend in-person or online classes. We have more on that and several key points below, but first a gentle reminder that our best-laid plans are subject to change due to the evolving nature of the pandemic. As we have all experienced these past months, blessed are the flexible.


A comprehensive and detailed safety plan is being finalized and will be shared early next week, along with the updated calendar. Below are several key points from that plan, as of July 16, 2020. Please read carefully.


      The school year will begin Aug. 3 as scheduled, with the four-day instructional week in place. HOWEVER, during the first three weeks — Aug. 3 through Aug. 20 — all instruction will be fully remote. Online instruction will also be more robust than what was offered this past spring. There are several reasons for implementing this fully on-line transition period. Among them, the additional three weeks give us time to adjust if state guidelines change in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. The additional time also particularly benefits our transportation and technology departments, who are responding as rapidly as possible to the many new safety regulations and learning environment modifications. Note: Pick-up food service will be offered at Athens High School during this three-week period.

      In-person instruction will resume on Aug. 24. Parents must inform the district sometime during the week of Aug. 4 of two important decisions: 1) whether their student will receive instruction in person or online, and 2) whether or not their student will ride the bus. Learning options may only be changed at the end of each nine-week grading period. AISD will gather this information from our families in the near future via a questionnaire.

      Please remember ALL students must register before each new  school year to attend  AISD. The first step is to provide proof of residence. Once that has been processed, you will receive a confirmation email to register your child online. To begin that process, visit or go to and click on the news section.

      Some CTE (Career & Technical Education) classes may require in-person, hands-on instruction due to the nature of the subject being taught. Also, students who choose on-line instruction will be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities and elective courses, such as athletics and band. Please note, however, that we await instructions from the University Interscholastic League regarding if/how/when all UIL-governed activities, such as athletics, will proceed.

      As previously noted, online instruction will be more robust than what was offered this past spring. The longstanding AISD grading policy will be followed for all students. Accordingly, on-line students will be expected to fully participate each day in all scheduled classes and submit classwork regularly as part of a standard curriculum.  State attendance requirements and all STAAR-test graduation requirements are in effect at this time.

      To reduce the spread of COVID-19, AISD will follow state safety guidelines on facial coverings, social distancing and health precautions, including the screening of staff and students. As per the governor’s executive order, face masks will be required for all students 10 and older. We recommend masks for students under 10, though they are not required. Parents, we ask that you provide your child with the required masks. Staff will wear either face masks or face shields.

      For safety reasons, water fountains will not be in operation. Therefore, parents are asked to send a water bottle with their students. Water bottles must be transparent.


We at Athens ISD are intensely thinking, discussing, researching and planning how best to balance the safety and educational needs of the children soon to be in our care. Let us all work to keep each other safe. Thank you.

AISD responds to positive COVID-19 tests

Athens High School has been notified that a summer school employee and a student in the boy’s strength and conditioning program have tested positive for COVID-19. AHS employees and students known to have been in proximity to those individuals have been contacted.

The campus has again been deeply sanitized, and students in the impacted class will continue summer school via distance learning. The boys' summer training program has been canceled until further notice.

Based on the information that we have gathered, it has been determined that the end of the 14-day incubation period for anyone possibly exposed is June 30. Those identified as having been in proximity to the individuals who tested positive have been advised to follow the CDC guidelines for people who have had close contact, practice social distancing, and contact their primary care physicians if they develop symptoms.

Athens ISD will continue to monitor this situation and will provide impacted individuals with additional information as needed.


                                                Debbie Goggans  Media Relations Coordinator

                                                     (214) 802-5649 [email protected]




Grant helps provide crisis counseling services to East Texas 12 County area amid COVID -19 pandemic


As evidence mounts that the COVID-19 pandemic is taking an emotional toll on Texans, help is on the way for the 12 county area within East Texas in the form of a grant awarded to Lakes Regional Community Center by the Health and Human Services Commission Disaster Behavioral Health Services.


This grant will be used to fund a Crisis Counseling Program (CCP) called Texans Recovering Together.  Texans Recovering Together will help residents living in Camp, Delta, Franklin, Henderson, Hopkins, Lamar, Morris, Rains, Smith, Titus, Van Zandt and Wood counties recover from the COVID pandemic. 


Services will include:

  • Crisis counseling from trained outreach workers accessed via the HHSC COVID Mental Health Support Line (833-986-1919) and/or the local crisis counseling HELPLINE (888-843-1315).
  • Connecting individuals to community resources


These services are confidential and free of charge to people who call the HELPLINE.


The mission of Texans Recovering Together is to help those experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  People are facing unprecedented financial, social, physical and mental struggles. Everyone is impacted by the pandemic.


The CCP grant funding is to be used within 60 days.  However, HHSC-DBHS plans to pursue a second CCP grant, if awarded, would allow services to extend for an additional nine months in the 12 county area.


If you need help managing your thoughts and anxiety about COVID-19 pandemic, reach out.  Help is just a phone call away (888-843-1315).





Dear Parent or Guardian, 

Your household may be eligible to receive Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) benefits to buy food. P-EBT is for children 5-18 years old who received SNAP food benefits for the month of March 2020 and children up to 21 years old who are certified for free or reduced-price meals at school in Texas during the 2019-20 school year. Children that attend a school that offers free meals to all students (Community Eligibility Provision or Provision 2) are also eligible. 

The online application for P-EBT is now open. Please review the criteria to see if you need to apply to receive these benefits. The application link is provided below. Do I need to apply for P-EBT?

Families that DID NOT get SNAP benefits for the month of March 2020

  • Yes, you will need to apply.
  • Fill out an application here:
  • The application is open until June 30, 2020.
  • If you do not currently get SNAP benefits and your child is approved for P-EBT, you will be mailed a P-EBT card loaded with benefits.

    Families that DID get SNAP benefits for the month of March 2020

  • You do not need to apply for children ages 5-18. Benefits were loaded onto your existing SNAP card by May 22.
  • If you have children under 5 and/or between the ages of 19 and 21, you will need to fill out an application for those children. Fill out an application here:
  • If you get SNAP benefits and your child is approved for P-EBT, we will put funds on your current Lone Star Card.

P-EBT is a one-time benefit for families issued through an EBT card (like a debit card). Families receive up to $285 per eligible child. You will have one year from the date the benefits were issued to use your P-EBT benefits. P-EBT benefits are non-transferrable. 


If you need help filling out the P-EBT application, please contact is 833-613-6220. For more information, please visit or call is 833-613-6220.



Barry Choate

AISD Director of Operations

_____ Estimado/a padre, madre o tutor: 

Su hogar puede ser elegible para recibir los beneficios de la Transferencia Electrónica de Beneficios por Pandemia (P-EBT, por sus siglas en inglés) para comprar alimentos. La P-EBT es para niños de 5 a 18 años que recibieron beneficios de alimentos del SNAP para el mes de marzo de 2020 y para niños de hasta 

21 años que estén certificados para recibir comidas gratuitas o a precio reducido en la escuela en Texas durante el año escolar 2019-20. También son elegibles los niños que asisten a una escuela que ofrece comidas gratuitas a todos los estudiantes (Disposición de Elegibilidad de la Comunidad o Disposición 2). 

Se encuentra disponible la solicitud en línea de la P-EBT. Revise los criterios para saber si necesita presentar una solicitud para recibir estos beneficios. A continuación se encuentra el enlace a la solicitud.

¿Necesito presentar una solicitud para la P-EBT?

Las familias que NO recibieron beneficios del SNAP para el mes de marzo de 2020

  • Sí, necesitará presentar una solicitud.
  • Complete una solicitud aquí
  • La solicitud está disponible hasta el 30 de junio de 2020.
  • Si actualmente no recibe beneficios del SNAP y su hijo recibe la aprobación para la PEBT, se le enviará por correo una tarjeta de P-EBT cargada de beneficios.

    Las familias que SÍ recibieron beneficios del SNAP para el mes de marzo de 2020

  • No necesita presentar una solicitud para los niños de 5 a 18 años. Los beneficios se cargaron en su tarjeta del SNAP existente antes del 22 de mayo.
  • Si tiene hijos menores de 5 años o entre 19 y 21 años, necesitará completar una solicitud para esos niños. Complete una solicitud aquí:
  • Si recibe beneficios del SNAP y su hijo recibe la aprobación para la P-EBT, pondremos los fondos en su tarjeta Lone Star actual.


La P-EBT es un beneficio único para familias emitido a través de una tarjeta de EBT (como una tarjeta de débito). Las familias reciben hasta $285 por cada niño elegible. A partir de la fecha en que se emitieron los beneficios, tendrá un año para usar sus beneficios de la P-EBT. Los beneficios de la P-EBT no son transferibles. 

Si necesita ayuda para completar la solicitud de la P-EBT, llame al 833-613-6220. Para obtener más información, visite o llame al 833-613-6220.



Barry Choate

AISD Director of Operations


    May 1 UPDATE AHS announces senior graduation and recognition plans for May


By Toni Garrard Clay

AISD Communications Coordinator


Graduation for the Athens High School class of 2020 will be held on Friday, May 29, though whether it will be held in-person or virtually has not yet been determined. The Texas Education commissioner has counseled districts across Texas to be cautious about announcing in-person graduation plans at this time. Therefore, AISD remains open, but not committed, to the possibility of a live graduation at a location to be determined. If an in-person ceremony is held, limitations would be in place to meet safety requirements due to the spread of the coronavirus. A final decision will be made as soon as possible and with guidance from TEA.


While the AISD Facebook page has featured a steady flow of senior recognition posts, more plans are scheduled throughout the month of May to specifically honor the class of 2020.


During the first full week of May, on Monday, May 4, a video will be posted to social media featuring the smiling faces of many seniors who have committed to attend college, vocational school or serve in the military. On Thursday, May 7, from 3-6, senior caps and gowns will be distributed curbside in the parking lot of AHS. Music will be played and, along with graduation paraphernalia, other items specific to seniors will be given out, including Whataburger 2020 table tents and select TVCC acceptance letters. (No exiting of vehicles will be allowed.) That same day, at 6pm, senior athletes who did not have a chance to complete spring sports seasons will be honored by their coaches in a live-streaming event on Athens ISD’s Facebook page. In addition, in keeping with a longtime tradition, yard signs celebrating individual senior commitments will be posted in front of the high school that week — which seniors are later free to take home and place in their own yards.


During the second week of May, banners celebrating the Class of 2020 will be hung around the downtown square. Additionally, beginning May 11, all senior names will appear in alphabetical order on the AHS marquis. We encourage seniors to have their photo taken standing below their name as it appears on the marquis. Each name will stay up 4 seconds. At that rate, it will take approximately 14 minutes to run through the complete list.


During the third week of May, on Tuesday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m., Baccalaureate services will be held as a drive-in service in the parking lot of Athens High School. An FM transmitter will be used to deliver a timely message from pastor and AISD teacher Juan Moreno.


Graduation will be held Friday, May 29. Details to be released. May 29, will be the graduation ceremony. And on May 30, a complete list of senior scholarship recipients will be published in the Athens Daily Review.

March 31 UPDATE related to COVID-19 campus closures/distance learning


  • Gov. Abbott announced Tuesday, March 31 that Texas schools would be restricted to distance learning until at least May 4.
  • Athens ISD will continue to distribute breakfast at Athens High School from 8-9 and lunch from 11-noon Monday through Thursday. Unfortunately, due to a new federal mandate under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we are no longer allowed to send home extra food for the weekend.
  • AISD will continue to distribute meals to anyone ages 18 and under who is present in the vehicle during pick-up times, regardless of where or even if they are a student. Doing this allows district employees to distribute food quickly and allows us to feed children present in the vehicle who have been displaced from their own school districts. “We want to give to everyone who shows up,” said AISD Operations Director Barry Choate. “It’s the better of the options given to us by the USDA.”
  • In order to serve the community to the greatest extent possible under the new USDA regulations, AISD is actively partnering with local daycare centers to provide meals to all the children in their care. “We want to do all we can to help the children in our community,” said Choate.

AISD launches distance learning Monday

Device and packet pickup slated for Thursday


EDITED 3-25 to ADD: The time for device and packet pick up Thursday has been expanded. Parents/guardians may pick up devices and packets anytime Thursday, March 26, from the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Athens ISD district and campus leadership teams will launch the new distance learning program for all students beginning Monday, March 30. We expect there will be a period of adjustment for everyone involved as we work through a brand new way of educating students during challenging circumstances. May we all commit to being patient and extending grace to one another during the coming days.


Breakfast (8-9) and lunch (11-noon) pickup began in the parking lot of Athens High School Tuesday. On Thursday, March 26, at AHS from 9-10am, 11am-12:30pm and 4:45-6pm, instructional packets will be distributed to elementary families, and Chromebooks requested through the Tech Survey will be distributed to secondary families (grades 6-12). Please read on for important information.


  • Distance learning will require a partnership between parents/guardians and teachers in order to encourage students to complete their lessons. Teachers will call and/or message students regularly during set hours. Read more about that here for grades preK through 5 and here for grades 6-12.
  • Two-weeks’ worth of reading and math-based instructional material will be available for parents of elementary students to pick up at AHS on Thursday, March 26 from 8-9am, 11am-12:30pm or 4:45-6pm. Packets will not be returned. However, teachers will be contacting students to assess mastery of content. Parents, your partnership is critical. In addition, links to online learning resources will be posted to the AISD website for parent/student access. Read the list of distance learning expectations for elementary students, parents and teachers here.
  • Elementary teachers will be available and make contact with students (via Remind app phone calls and/or messages and Zoom or Google meetings) 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m., Monday-Thursday. Read more here.
  • Secondary students (6-12) will receive instruction entirely online using Google Classroom and, in some cases, Edmentum. Instructions for the week should be posted to Google Classroom by 9 a.m. on Mondays. Links to learning resources will be posted to the AISD website for student access. Read the list of distance learning expectations for secondary students, parents and teachers here.
  • Secondary teachers (6-12) will be available and make contact with students (via phone calls through the Remind app, Google Meet, Zoom and/or email) from 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m., Monday-Thursday. Read more here.
  • Chromebooks may be picked up on loan by a parent or guardian from 8-9am, 11am-12:30pm, or 4:45-6pm on Thursday, March 26, at AHS. They are available to AMS and AHS families who expressed a need on the Tech Survey. In order to pick up devices on Thursday, March 26, a parent or guardian must be present and must have completed the survey by midnight Tuesday, March 24. Another Chromebook distribution will be scheduled the following week for families who complete the survey after the 24th. The survey only needs to be completed by families who do not have internet connectivity (other than a cell phone) or to a computer or tablet.
  • AISD is working on a solution for families who do not have internet connection other than through a phone. Information on that will be shared as soon as possible.
  • One possible Internet resource option: Suddenlink is offering free internet access for 60 days to any household in their service area that has a student from kindergarten through college and that does not have Internet service at home. After the first 60 free days, those affected can either cancel the service or keep it as a paying customer. Eligible households can call 888-633-0030 to enroll.
  • Breakfast and lunch is currently being distributed 8-9 a.m. and 11-noon from the parking lot of Athens High School (708 E. College Street) to anyone in the vehicle ages 18 and under. Federal regulations require that children be present to receive the meals. Scheduled meal distribution dates are now through Thursday, March 26 and March 30-April 2. On both Thursdays, the noon meal will include extra food for the weekend.
  • All students taking dual credit classes at TVCC will need to refer to TVCC for information on those classes and should regularly check their TVCC email. If needed, Mrs. Cornish can direct students to related resources via email at [email protected]
  • The parents/guardians of all special populations students will be contacted very soon via letter and phone call for information regarding continued services.

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