NOVEL CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION

  • On Sunday, March 15, 2020, Governor McMaster issued an executive order to close all public schools throughout the state for a minimum period of two weeks. Our District had been preparing for the potential of a closure, and, at this time, we are expediting Distance Learning and Nutrition planning.

    This school closure began Monday, March 16, 2020, and and is expected to continue at least through the end of the month. 

    All staff members will be essential to the success of our Distance Learning and Nutritional Service. Please note that while our schools are closed, our District office, teachers and staff are working. Although students are not physically in our classrooms, our employees’ commitment to meeting your students’ learning and nutritional needs will continue.

    Beginning Tuesday, March 17, our school buses will be transporting meals to students along our regular bus routes. These no-cost, grab-and-go meals are available to any student desiring one. Each grab-and-go bag will contain nutrition for breakfast as well as lunch. Buses transporting food for students will begin their routes at 11 a.m., and most will have made their deliveries by 12:30 p.m. Please review the routes for estimated arrival time. 

    Please be reminded about the laws in stopping for school buses. When a school bus is stopped on a two-lane road with its red lights flashing and its stop arm extended, you must stop your vehicle 20 feet from the bus. Oncoming traffic and motorists approaching the bus from behind may not move until the stop arm is retracted and the red lights are no longer flashing. There are going to be buses making deliveries, so please use caution and watch out for students as they make their way to bus stop locations for these meal deliveries.

    If a student has not received a meal and the bus delivery time is delayed by more than 30 minutes at the published meal delivery time, please contact the District Transportation Office at (803) 593-7201 and a bus will be radioed to deliver a meal to your stop.

    Food for students is also available by picking up a grab-and-go bag at any of our school campuses between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

    Please note that student meals will be available throughout this school closure on weekdays for students beginning Tuesday, March 17. Student meals will not be distributed or available for grab-and-go pickup at school campuses on the already published day off of Monday, March 23.

    In the absence of specific distance learning assignments for your students, which will be available beginning Thursday, please encourage your child to practice sustained reading. Also, there are Online Student Learning Opportunities available under the Instructional Services Department on our District website, www.acpsd.net.

    Paper and pencil Distance Learning Packets are being assembled and will be available for pick up at school locations on Thursday, March 19, from noon until 7:00 p.m., and Friday, March 20, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. School principals will communicate additional details with parents/guardians along with a schedule for pickup to ensure that they are distributed in a way that allows for appropriate social distancing in our continued efforts to protect the health of our students, staff members and community.

    In order to accommodate the varied communications preferences of our students and families, the paper and pencil printed Distance Learning Packets will include all instructional materials students are required to complete for remote learning throughout this closure. The State Department will require that students complete 200 minutes of instructional activities per day. Our Distance Learning Plans received approval this afternoon from the State Department of Education and, following those, we expect to continue with spring break and our established school calendar as planned.

    Teacher conferencing, virtual classrooms and online enrichment activities will be designed to enhance the educational experience. In order to assist our teachers with planning to connect with students during this closure, parents/guardians are asked to answer a few questions about home computer and internet access. Schools/Teachers may also be requesting the same through other communications. Please take a moment to complete this request for each of your Aiken County Public School students.

    ACPSD Student Home Computer & Internet Access Survey

    We appreciate your flexibility and understanding and are certainly keeping all impacted by these changes in our thoughts.Please know that our school district family is committed to supporting the educational and nutritional needs of our community. 

     


    Prior to the mandatory closure, Aiken County Public Schools implemented a number of precautionary measures to protect the safety of students, staff and the community-at-large, while remaining in consistent communication with officials at both the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the South Carolina Department of Education. 

    Please click on the link below and answer a few questions about home computer and internet access. Schools/Teachers may also be requesting the same through other communications. Please complete a separate survey for each of your Aiken County Public School students.

    ACPSD Student Home Computer & Internet Access Survey

     

    HOW FAMILIES CAN HELP: If a member of a students’ household has traveled in an area of outbreak, has come into contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, or is diagnosed themselves with coronavirus, report this information to the child’s school immediately.

    In addition, Please practice and encourage standard precautionary procedures recommended by DHEC and the CDC, and follow our district guidelines to prevent the spread of illness.

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. (If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.)
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick. 
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

     

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

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NOVEL CORONAVIRUS: QUICK FACTS

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NOVEL CORONAVIRUS: STOP THE SPREAD OF GERMS

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SPANISH DHEC FLYERS

  • DHEC flyers translated in Spanish are included below. 

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW (SPANISH)

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NOVEL CORONAVIRUS: QUICK FACTS (ESP)

If you are having trouble viewing the document, you may download the document.


NOVEL CORONAVIRUS: STOP THE SPREAD OF GERMS (SPANISH)

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COVID-19 UPDATES & INFORMATION

  • NUTRITION SERVICE BEGINS TUESDAY; DISTANCE LEARNING PACKETS AVAILABLE THURSDAY BEGINNING AT NOON, March 16, 2020 Update - Parents and Guardians: Thank you for your understanding of our need to meet with essential staff members as we completed plans to transition to Distance Learning and Nutritional service. Please note that while our schools are closed, our District office, teachers and staff are working. Although students are not physically in our classrooms, our employees’ commitment to meeting your students’ learning and nutritional needs will continue.

    Beginning Tuesday, March 17, our school buses will be transporting meals to students along our regular bus routes. These no-cost, grab-and-go meals are available to any student desiring one. Each grab-and-go bag will contain nutrition for breakfast as well as lunch. Buses transporting food for students will begin their routes at 11 a.m., and most will have made their deliveries by 12:30 p.m. Please review the routes for estimated arrival time. 

    Please be reminded about the laws in stopping for school buses. When a school bus is stopped on a two-lane road with its red lights flashing and its stop arm extended, you must stop your vehicle 20 feet from the bus. Oncoming traffic and motorists approaching the bus from behind may not move until the stop arm is retracted and the red lights are no longer flashing. There are going to be buses making deliveries, so please use caution and watch out for students as they make their way to bus stop locations for these meal deliveries.

    If a student has not received a meal and the bus delivery time is delayed by more than 30 minutes at the published meal delivery time, please contact the District Transportation Office at (803) 593-7201 and a bus will be radioed to deliver a meal to your stop.

    Food for students is also available by picking up a grab-and-go bag at any of our school campuses between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

    Please note that student meals will be available throughout this school closure on weekdays for students beginning Tuesday, March 17. Student meals will not be distributed or available for grab-and-go pickup at school campuses on the already published day off of Monday, March 23.

    In the absence of specific distance learning assignments for your students, which will be available beginning Thursday, please encourage your child to practice sustained reading. Also, there are Online Student Learning Opportunities available under the Instructional Services Department on our District website, www.acpsd.net.

    Paper and pencil Distance Learning Packets are being assembled and will be available for pick up at school locations on Thursday, March 19, from noon until 7:00 p.m., and Friday, March 20, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. School principals will communicate additional details with parents/guardians along with a schedule for pickup to ensure that they are distributed in a way that allows for appropriate social distancing in our continued efforts to protect the health of our students, staff members and community.

    In order to accommodate the varied communications preferences of our students and families, the paper and pencil printed Distance Learning Packets will include all instructional materials students are required to complete for remote learning throughout this closure. The State Department will require that students complete 200 minutes of instructional activities per day. Our Distance Learning Plans received approval this afternoon from the State Department of Education and, following those, we expect to continue with spring break and our established school calendar as planned.

    Teacher conferencing, virtual classrooms and online enrichment activities will be designed to enhance the educational experience. In order to assist our teachers with planning to connect with students during this closure, parents/guardians are asked to answer a few questions about home computer and internet access. Schools/Teachers may also be requesting the same through other communications. Please take a moment to complete this request for each of your Aiken County Public School students.

    ACPSD Student Home Computer & Internet Access Survey

    We appreciate your flexibility and understanding and are certainly keeping all impacted by these changes in our thoughts.

    Comments (-1)
  • ACPSD TO IMPLEMENT DISTANCE LEARNING & NUTRITION PLANS/NO SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS THROUGH MARCH (MARCH 15 UPDATE) - This afternoon, Governor McMaster has issued an executive order to close all public schools throughout the state for a minimum period of two weeks. Our District has been preparing for the potential of a closure, and, at this time, we are expediting Distance Learning and Nutrition planning to ensure continued student learning and nutritional service throughout this mandated closure.

    This school closure will begin immediately and is expected to continue at least through the end of the month. There will be no school for students in Aiken County beginning tomorrow. District leaders and school principals are asked to report to their work locations tomorrow morning to finalize planning. Teachers and other staff members should be on call tomorrow and prepared to report to work, as requested, to assist with planning.

    All staff members will be essential to the success of our Distance Learning and Nutritional Service and will be called upon, as needed, to support implementation. Aiken County Public Schools will meet its financial commitment to all employees.

    Additional details on the distribution of students’ printed Distance Learning Packets, remote teacher conferencing and virtual learning will be shared with parents/guardians on or before Wednesday, March 18.

    Aiken County Public Schools’ has submitted required documentation to the State Department and we expect to be able to begin transporting grab-and-go student meals to students 18-years and younger throughout the county as early as Tuesday, March 17.

    We can only imagine the impact that this announcement will have on our families. Please know that our school district family is committed to supporting the educational and nutritional needs of our community. We appreciate your patience in finalizing plans with essential staff members tomorrow and will have additional information after that time.

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  • HOME COMPUTER & INTERNET ACCESS INFORMATION REQUEST, MARCH 14, 2020 - To assist our teachers and staff in proactively planning for Distant Learning, should that be necessary due to a closure, please click on the link below and answer a few questions about home computer and internet access. Schools/Teachers may also be requesting the same through other communications. Please take a moment to complete this request. Paper copies of the same will be sent home with students on Monday, March 16. Please complete a separate survey for each of your Aiken County Public School students.

    ACPSD Student Home Computer & Internet Access Survey

    Comments (-1)
  • MARCH 14, 2020 UPDATE: STUDENTS TO BE DISMISSED THREE-HOURS EARLY WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18, FOR PRECAUTIONARY DISTANT LEARNING & NUTRITION STAFF TRAINING - Currently, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Aiken County and no school closures planned at this time. Please read the following update on our District’s response and precautionary preparations related to coronavirus and be advised that students will be dismissed from school three hours early on Wednesday, March 18. Currently, there are no changes to the dismissal schedule for Thursday, March 19.

    As you know, we have heightened precautions related to the spread of COVID-19 by implementing a coronavirus-eliminating disinfectant schedule, encouraging and practicing handwashing and other recommended procedures, postponing all field trips and non-essential professional travel outside of Aiken County, delaying athletic competition and our employee appreciation event, and temporarily suspending all work-based learning in healthcare facilities.

    None of these precautionary measures, particularly those that have disappointed and caused concern for our students and their families, have been easily decided, or without thoughtful discussion and collaboration among district and school staff and leadership, as well as state officials.

    Please be assured that we are closely monitoring the health of our schools and community, in collaboration with DHEC and the CDC. If a member of a students’ household has traveled in an area of outbreak, has come into contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, or is diagnosed themselves with coronavirus, families are urged to report this information to their child’s school immediately.

    While we have received no directive to close schools or recommendations from the governor or public health officials to do so at this time, as we mentioned last week, we are proactively planning and preparing for distance learning and nutritional services so that we are able to continue educating and ensuring healthy nutrition for the children of our community throughout a school closure, should that ultimately be necessary

    In an effort to train and prepare teachers and other staff members for Distance Learning, all students will be dismissed from school three hours early on Wednesday, March 18. We understand that dismissing students three hours earlier than their regular dismissal time will be challenging to our families, but believe that it is necessary to ensure that our teachers and staff members are prepared to transition to Distance Learning and Nutritional Service, should that become necessary in Aiken County.

    While again, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in our county and no plans for a school or district-wide closure for our District at this time, families are encouraged to begin considering arrangements for childcare should that action become necessary.

    This situation seems to be ever-changing and there is as great deal of uneasiness that uncertainty may cause. What we can promise is transparency in our communication of precautionary measures being considered related to school operations and that Aiken County Schools is committed to the safety and health of our students, teachers and staff, and greater community, as well as our mission of public education.   

    Official information and details on our district’s response to coronavirus are available on our website, www.acpsd.net. Should any further precautionary decisions be made, information will be shared promptly on our website and through phone call, email and text message.

    Comments (-1)
  • SPECIAL OLYMPICS SPRING GAMES & PROJECT UNIFIED EVENTS CANCELLED BY SPECIAL OLYMPICS SC, MARCH 13, 2020 - We received information last night from Special Olympics South Carolina (SOSC) that the Special Olympics Spring Games scheduled for Friday, April 24, is being cancelled as a precautionary measure due to COVID 19. In addition, all Project Unified events throughout the state are being cancelled as well. In Aiken County, this will include Unified Champions Bowling (hosted by Paul Knox Middle), Side Walk Art (hosted by North Augusta High), the Softball Tournament (hosted by Midland Valley High), and Perfect Prom (hosted by Wagener Salley High).

    The information we received from the SOSC is below. We understand how disappointing this news will be for our students, families and school communities. Everyone looks forward to these events and we join you in disappointment that they have been cancelled.

    After receiving advice from Special Olympics International over the past week, in cooperation with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and out of an abundance of caution, Special Olympics South Carolina (SOSC) has made the decision to cancel all Special Olympics practices and competitions at the local and state levels through the month of May. This will include local Spring Games, other local tournaments/invitationals, State Summer Games and State Equestrian.

    SOSC carefully made this decision based on information from experts, prioritizing the wellbeing of athletes, family members, volunteers, and supporters. Our events are opportunities for entire communities to come together for a wonderful cause, but unfortunately, that joining together can pose an increased threat to our athletes and communities at this time. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding throughout this unprecedented circumstance. This will be the first year in 52 years without a Special Olympics State Summer Games, but I assure you that Special Olympics programs will be

    Please contact Jennifer Browne in the Department of Special Programs with any questions (803-641-2428).

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  • ATHLETIC COMPETITION UPDATE IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19, MARCH 13, 2020 - Aiken County Public School District administration, in consultation with Principals and Athletic Directors made the decision this afternoon to temporarily suspend all athletic competitions effective immediately. Regular athletic team practice will be permitted. This decision will continue to be evaluated, along with other precautionary measures related to COVID 19. As always, the safety of our students, coaches, fans and community-at-large is our highest priority and we regret any concerns related to this temporary suspension of all competitive athletic events.

    Comments (-1)
  • COVID-19 UPDATE & ADDITIONAL PRECAUTIONS - MARCH 12, 2020 - We understand how overwhelming and concerning information about COVID 19 can be to our students, families and staff members. Currently, there is no confirmed case of coronavirus in our county and no suspected cases in which individuals are being asked to remain home for self-monitoring.

    Please be assured that our school facilities and buses are being disinfected on a recommended, regular schedule with safe, but highly effective products approved for use to eliminate coronavirus. We are grateful for the support of our community in encouraging handwashing, staying home while sick, and practicing recommended precautionary measures to ensure that we, as a school community, are working together to protect the safety of our students, staff, and community-at-large.

    While our District does not anticipate a school or district-wide school closure due to coronavirus, we are working with content specialists, teachers and schools to make plans for distance learning should a closure be necessary. These plans are being developed across varied content delivery methods, from online platforms and teleconference services, to printed materials, in an effort to accommodate communications preferences, as well as internet accessibility limitations of our students and families throughout our large district.

    In the near future, distance learning plans will be shared and reviewed with staff, students and parents to ensure that all involved are prepared to support the continuation of learning should an outbreak of coronavirus in our community occur and schools need to close temporarily. Again, while we do not anticipate a school closure, it is our desire to have plans in place and any trainings held for staff, students and parents/guardians to ensure that we are prepared, with distance learning plans in place, to quickly respond to DHEC recommendations for a school closure, should that be necessary.  

    In an abundance of caution, Aiken County Public School administrators and principals made the decision this morning to delay all student field trips and non-essential professional travel for employees to locations outside of Aiken County through April 12. Field trips planned for March will be rescheduled, if possible. If not feasible or reasonable based on concerns related to coronavirus, every effort will be made to seek reimbursement for expenses incurred by students’ families related to travel, overnight accommodations and entry fees, as applicable. Out-of-the-area and out-of-state field trips planned for the months of April, May, and June will continue to be evaluated until further notice and may need to also be rescheduled.

    Athletic competitions are being discussed at this time in partnership with the South Carolina High School League and we will continue to communicate any updates or changes to student activities as they are available.

    Internships, apprenticeships, job shadowing, cooperative learning, and any other work-based learning opportunities arranged through AIKEN WORKS and Aiken County Public Schools in any healthcare setting will be suspended until further notice. Understanding that exposure to coronavirus is more probable in hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ offices and other medical facilities, we believe it is prudent at this time to take this preventative step. In collaboration with work-based learning partners, AIKEN WORKS and our District will work to ensure students engaged in on-site learning in health facilities are provided future opportunities for hands-on learning. Parents/guardians and students involved in work-based learning opportunities should not report to their job site today and will receive additional information as soon as possible.

    As always, the safety and wellbeing of students, staff and your families is of greatest priority to our District. We certainly understand the impact that these preventative measures related to field trips, and work-based learning in healthcare facilities will have on our students, families and community. These decisions were made as a precautionary measure and with the best interest of our students, families and staff at heart.

    Additional information is forthcoming related to proactive plans for distance learning. Please know that we recognize the disruption that a school closure would cause to families and that plans are being made solely in a proactive effort to be prepared to educate the children of our community in the event a temporary school closure is recommended by public health officials.   

    As we continue working together to ensure a healthy environment for teaching and learning, please be reminded of the comprehensive list of precautionary procedures recommended by DHEC and the CDC, as well as our district guidelines to prevent the spread of illness.

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. (If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.)
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick. 
    • District guidelines request that students and staff remain home until symptom and fever-free for 24-hours, without the use of fever-reducing and pain-relieving medications.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    We apologize that these precautionary actions are necessary and appreciate your understanding of these efforts being made to protect the safety of our students, staff and school community. 

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  • NOVEL CORONAVIRUS GENERAL INFORMATION, MARCH 2, 2020 - Understanding that parents/guardians, teachers, and staff may have concerns about the widely-publicized new or “novel” coronavirus, COVID-19, and how this new family of viruses could impact our community and public schools, our district administration wants to ensure you are made aware of preventative efforts and procedures in place related to this public health concern.

    Any matter which potentially threatens the health and safety of our schools is of highest priority to our District. District leaders have been in consistent communication with officials at both the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the South Carolina Department of Education. According to public health officials, the risk to the general public from Coronavirus remains low.

    According to DHEC and the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), simple, everyday preventive actions which serve to control the spread of any respiratory virus or flu are the best defense against the spread of Coronavirus. These practices will be encouraged throughout our school campuses and workspaces. Parents/guardians are asked to please reinforce illness preventative actions at home, including:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. (If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.)
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    Our team of registered nurses in schools throughout the District communicate confirmed cases of flu, viruses and other communicable illnesses with our District Nursing Supervisor, who monitors the comprehensive health of each school community and shares concerns of high illness percentages with DHEC officials to evaluate a possible public health emergency. Cleaning and disinfecting protocols specific to Coronavirus are ready to be swiftly implemented in Aiken County Public Schools, should that be necessary. We do not anticipate a public health emergency from Coronavirus in our community and appreciate the support of our students, staff members, and families in encouraging and practicing regular disease prevention to help our community stay healthy and well this season.

    Please click on the words "Novel Coronavirus Information" to be directed to our page dedicated to providing factually correct information on the Novel Coronavirus.

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NOVEL CORONAVIRUS: S.C. DHEC DOCUMENTS