The Athens City School District, or ACSD, announced Thursday it will be temporarily closed through Aug. 31, citing instances of COVID-19 cases and exposure among transportation staff. Classes began Wednesday for ACSD.
The departure of bus drivers and several COVID-19 infections left ACSD short-handed for the transportation of students during the first two days of school, Superintendent Tom Gibbs said. Thursday evening, another employee reported symptoms while a second reported close contact with two infected individuals.
The employees will quarantine for 10 days at the recommendation of the Athens City-County Health Department.
Ohio Revised Code specifies that public school districts in Ohio are required to provide student transportation. However, the recent cases left ACSD too understaffed to continue, resulting in the temporary closure of school.
Gibbs said more staff will be able to return Sept. 1 and that the district is increasing hiring efforts.
“I’m very sorry I’ve had to make this decision,” Gibbs said in a release on the ACSD website. “Thank you for your understanding.”
Students will not have online classes during the closure, though faculty and staff are required to report in-person for their normal schedules.
Families will receive an update Monday, according to the release.