An important message from Superintendent

An important message from Superintendent Dr. Janie Sims
Posted on 07/17/2020
Nichols and Stiles

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 www.bit.ly/RegisterAISD or go to www.athensisd.net 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.


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