Athens – Tom Gibbs Superintendent from Athens City Schools made a statement on social media on the planned closing of Athens School District
On Monday, March 8th Governor DeWine issued a state of emergency following the positive identification of three persons with the COVID-19 virus in Cuyahoga County. In press statements today, the Governor has advised Universities to suspend face-to-face classes and use online instruction. Ohio University has announced their intention to provide instruction online from March 16th to March 30th, with face-to-face classes to resume on March 30th.
In response to this new information, Superintendents from Athens and Meigs County, Logan-Hocking, the Beacon School and the Tri-County Career Center met with Dr. James Gaskell and Jack Pepper from the Athens City-County Health Department to discuss how our K-12 educational institutions should respond to limit the spread of the virus.
As a result of that meeting, it has been decided that the Athens City School District will be closed beginning March 16th and will reopen for face-to-face classes beginning on March 30th. During this time, all practices, meetings, and events will be cancelled with the exception of the Board Meeting on March 19th. With our proximity to Ohio University and the many families connected to the University, it is very likely that many families traveled over the spring break and may have become exposed to COVID-19. Given the knowledge that the virus may incubate for up to 14 days, this period of time off from school will limit the possibility for student exposure and transmission of the virus. While the Governor is not recommending that K-12 schools close, Athens is unique given the large proportion of our families associated with the University and the situation related to travel over the Spring Break period. Other area districts without this direct connection to Ohio University may choose to remain open at this time.
The missed school days will be accounted for in the following manner:
-Use 3 remaining calamity days.
-Make up 2 days on April 10th and April 13th.
-Recommend to the Board of Education to change the student calendar to allow for the remaining 5 days to be for teacher work days and not counted as student attendance hours. This is possible because our students attend school for many hours beyond the state requirements.
12-month staff and administration should continue to report to work and offices will remain open at this time. Additional information regarding when 9 month staff should report and other restrictions will be provided in the coming days. Thank you for your understanding of our need to make this decision.