With an increase in COVID-19 cases in Athens County, Athens City School District has made the decision to temporarily return to online instruction in an effort to slow community spread of the coronavirus.
The decision was made following collaboration with the Athens City-County Health Department as well as after considering updated COVID-19 data in Athens County, according to an announcement made on the ACSD website.
Students will continue with the existing in-person hybrid model until Dec. 21, the end of the first semester. Full remote instruction will begin Jan. 4, 2021, and will go through Jan. 22. The in-person hybrid model will resume Jan. 25. However, the decision to keep teaching in a hybrid model until the end of the first semester as well as the return date of Jan. 25 is dependent on the level of COVID-19 spread in the area, according to the announcement.
Sean Parsons, president of Athens City School Board, said the decision was challenging and not arrived at lightly.
“The decision recommended by the superintendent came out of collaboration with the health department,” Parsons said in a message. “There is concern about the spread of COVID over the winter break given holiday gatherings, the flu season, and more people spending greater time indoors.”
The announcement also said students cannot change to being fully remote if they are already enrolled in the hybrid model. However, students will not be counted absent if they are not able to attend school due to self-isolation.
According to the announcement, principals will communicate building-specific changes related to the return to remote instruction before the end of the first semester.
“I can’t really speak for the future of remote learning but am really looking forward to all of our learners being back to face-to-face learning in their school community with their friends, staff, and teachers as soon as possible,” Parsons said in a message.