Dear Aviator Families,
It is hard to believe that over two months have passed since our students returned for the 2020-2021 school year. During this time, we have been closely monitoring the effectiveness of our instructional model while keeping the health and safety of our students at the forefront.
After much reflection, we have decided to alter our current instructional model for AMS and AHS. Currently, we are operating in a hybrid instructional model, with A and B groups attending in person on alternating days. At our elementary level, we are operating on a five-days-per-week, in-person instructional model. We have decided the best model for our students moving forward is to create a consistent atmosphere across the district, having all students attend in-person, five-days-per-week, for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
Our Board of Education and administrative team have given much thought and reflection to this decision, deeply considering the best plan of action that will allow our students to thrive. There are many factors that affect the decision to have secondary students attend daily in-person. Perhaps the most important is our desire to provide much needed resources for the mental health and social emotional needs of our students. Additionally, and still the main focus of our daily work, is to ensure that students are learning in the most effective way possible. We strongly believe that in-person learning is the best model to accomplish these goals. Please know that in most, but not all, cases we will be able to maintain our pre-established guidelines keeping class sizes under 20 and ensuring students are six-feet apart.
We understand that the decision to change our learning model will be an adjustment for students, teachers and families. We also understand that we are making this change at a time when our nation is experiencing an increase in COVID cases. Although currently, ACS has not had any confirmed diagnoses amongst staff or students (refer to the ACS COVID-19 Dashboard here), if this should change, we are prepared to adapt and adjust. If warranted, we may temporarily transition a building floor or wing, a grade level, an entire building, or the entire district to remote learning (a model much like we used last Spring). There are 19 other districts in Stark County who are following the same full-time, in-person model and we firmly believe this is the best plan of action for Alliance City Schools as well.
Families in grades 6-12 who do not want their child to return to five days a week will continue to have the opportunity to take part in digital learning. A commitment form will be sent out on Wednesday, Oct. 14 through the district’s ParentSquare app for parents to select if they would like to have their students switch from in-person to digital or from digital to in-person. The commitment form must be completed by Friday, Oct. 16.
In order to make this happen, we have made a few calendar changes that affect the whole district:
- Wednesday, Oct. 14 - New Commitment form will be released (to grades 6-12 only)
- Friday, Oct. 16 - New Commitment form due in to the district
- Friday, Oct. 23 - No longer the last day of the 1st Quarter. No longer an early release day.
- Friday, Oct. 30 - Revised last day of the 1st Quarter. Early release day.
- Monday, Nov. 2 - New first Day of 2nd Quarter. Elementary students are in school. AMS and AHS students are off.
- Tuesday, Nov. 3 - No students k-12 for election day.
- Wednesday, Nov. 4 - All k-12 students who selected in-person learning will begin every day instruction.
More information can be found in the district's press release here.
As it has always been, the health and welfare of Alliance City Schools students and staff members remains our top priority. Please feel free to contact me with any questions related to this decision.
Thank you for your support and understanding as we navigate the unknowns of education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rob Gress, Superintendent
Alliance City Schools