ATHENS, OH (WOWK) – The Athens City School District will be closed beginning March 16th in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Schools will reopen for face-to-face classes beginning on March 30.
Superintendent Tom Gibbs says the decision was made in response to Gov. DeWine’s advice that state universities should suspend face-to-face classes and use online instruction.
“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,” he says.
All practices, meetings, and events will be canceled with the exception of the Board Meeting on March 19.
With their proximity to Ohio University and the many families connected to the University, Gibbs says it is very likely 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,” he says. “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 three remaining calamity days.
- Make up two days on April 10 and 13.
- Recommend to the Board of Education to change the student calendar to allow for the remaining five days to be for teacher work days and not counted as student attendance hours. This is possible because 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.