Pickens Turns to Distance Learning vs Returning After Holidays

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Pickens County Schools move to distance learning due to COVID-19 spike

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COVID-19 spike distance learning

Pickens County Schools Systems released the following information today:

Due to increased health concerns and a rapid spike in COVID-19 cases in our community, The Pickens County School District will be implementing distance learning for the next three days 12/16/20-12/18/20. Distance learning assignments will be posted on its learning platform and devices will be sent home with students. If your child does not bring home their device, please contact your child’s teacher or the school office to make arrangements to pick up the device.

On Wednesday, December 16, 2020, inclement weather is expected in our area. All of the staff should report at 10:00 a.m. Staff will also be reporting to their work locations the remainder of the week and should adhere to safety protocols already in place regarding masks and social distancing.

Meals will be available curbside at all schools tomorrow, Wednesday 12/16/20 from 11:00 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. More information will be shared tomorrow regarding meals on Thursday.

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An adjustment has been made in the return date for students following Christmas break. Students will return to school on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, due to the fact that many of our schools serve as voting precincts. Monday and Tuesday (1/4/21 and 1/5/21) will be teacher workdays for staff.

We appreciate the support as we continually work to keep up our students and staff safe. Updated information will be provided on the Pickens County School District website, the Infinite Campus parent portal, our district website, social media website, and sent to local media.

UPDATE: Pickens Schools closed beginning Monday

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Pickens County Schools announced they will close all schools starting Monday, Oct. 26 through Nov. 6. Traditional students will transition to distance learning on Monday.

The decision comes after the district had 27 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 584 students, teachers, and staff in quarantined.

According to a press release from the system, the buildings will be deep cleaned during the closure as well as all buses.

“We are making this decision with a heavy heart but with the best interest of everyone in mind,” said Destini Shope, Director of Community Engagement and Public Relations.

The decision was based on recommendations from the Department of Public Health.

Staff members are encouraged to avoid entering the buildings unless absolutely necessary and should contact the building administrator.

Tate, Hill City, and PJHS will continue to serve as polling locations on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. Those locations will be cleaned before and after Election Day.

Continue to check back for updates.


PCS to host Zoom meeting about virtual academy tonight

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virtual academy

Rick Townsend, Superintendent of Pickens County Schools, said they are looking at the best ways to serve students and parents during the 2020-2021 school year.

Parents in Pickens County will host a meeting via Zoom for parents wanting more information about the virtual academy for the 2020-2021 school year. Parents have two options for the 2020-2021 school year in the wake of a pandemic that shuttered schools in March.

The meeting is at 6:30. To attend, click here.

Choice 1 would be “Traditional School” with students returning to school with social distancing encouraged and extensive cleaning plans. The system notes that traditional school could become distance learning.

Choice 2 would be “Pickens Virtual Academy” with full time enrollment at home for at least one full semester. Students would have access to staff and support and would be eligible for extracurricular activities.

Parents have until July 13 to pick an option.


  • Back to school August 3, 2020.
  • Staff and students on campus.
  • Social distancing is encouraged.
  • Daily cleaning protocols.
  • Masks encouraged on buses and in hallways.
  • Face-to-face instruction.


Virtual Academy

  • Back to school August 3, 2020.
  • Curriculum provided using Pearson online program which can be supported by a Pickens County teacher to meet the individual needs of students.
  • Pearson is an accredited provider.
  • The courses cover the Georgia Standards and pacing will be aligned to Pickens County Courses.
  • A Pickens County teacher will be available to assist students with questions regarding assignments.
  • For seniors, teachers and counselors will work with them to ensure they are meeting graduation requirements.
  • Checkpoints will be set for all students to ensure the student works at a pace to complete the course on time.
  • Students will be considered students of Pickens County Schools and eligible for extracurricular activities.
  • Instructions and assignments via Pearson Connexus with assistance from a teacher.

Traditional School may become virtual

  • The system can switch to virtual learning if there is a substantial spread in the community.
  • Students in quarantine or homebound can enter virtual learning.


Transportation for traditional option

  • Masks and social distancing encouraged.
  • Personal protection equipment or PPE will be provided for all bus drivers
  • Assigned seating to improve loading and unloading.
  • Increased cleaning measures.
  • Disinfected daily.


Specialized student services


  • Students with special needs will engage in fact to face instruction.


  • Instructions and assignments via Pearson Connexus with assistance from a teacher.


Social-Emotional Learning


  • Students will work with staff to reconnect to school, build relationships and practice procedures and behavior expectations.
  • Counselors will have social emotional resources for teachers.



  • Students will work with staff to reconnect. Counselors will have resources available that will include ways to manage time in a distance environment.


Health and Safety


  • Send students and staff showing symptoms to clinic
  • Hand sanitizer available.
  • Designated entry and exit doors.
  • Only students sand employees may enter the main buildings. Visitors and parents may enter through designated area only.


  • All done remotely.
  • In the case of the system converting to distance learning, the building will be off-limits.




  • Face to face instruction with same technology needs as before.
  • All students, K-12 will be provided a device.


  • All students will be provided a device.
  • Students need to have reliable internet connection.


  • All students will have a device.
  • Working toward making mobile Wi-Fi hotspots available to check out for students without home internet access.
  • Working toward making parking lots at each school equipped and maintained as Wi-Fi access points.
  • Technical support for parents and students.


Extra-curricular activities


  • Follow GHSA guidelines.
  • Use caution, increased cleaning.
  • Digital ticketing and encourage social distancing at events.


  • Students are eligible for the same level of extra-curricular activities as other students.


  • Students in distance learning will n ot be able to participate due to quarantine or school closure.


Students not enrolled in either program by July 13 will automatically be enrolled in the traditional option.

For questions, contact Anita Walker, Director of Curriculum at [email protected]

To enroll in either options, visit  here.

Read previous news on back to school, here.






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