Important GAHS Back to School Information

Back to School at GAHS 2020-2021
Posted on 08/07/2020
Back to School at GAHS

August 7, 2020

Dear GAHS Families,

Last week, you received an update from our Superintendent, Dr. Lura Hanks, regarding our district plan for re-opening schools.  Last evening, our Board of School Directors confirmed the District’s Health and Safety Plan which can be viewed on our website .  Also approved is the revised district school calendar, which officially moves the first day of school to Monday, August 24.  We appreciate the quick response to our recent survey, as your feedback has enabled us to build a well-defined schedule for the upcoming school year.  Currently we are in the process of finalizing students’ schedules with a goal to open PowerSchool for students to view their schedules next Wednesday. 

Last spring our teachers seamlessly moved their courses to online instruction in record time.  I am proud of how well our faculty and students embraced the challenge of emergency virtual learning at the onset of the pandemic.  Our high school teachers are excited to build on this foundation and refine their courses as together we address the complexities of individual scheduling needs for all students. 

We understand families have many questions about the upcoming school year.  It is my hope this letter will address many of your questions, however some details are still to be determined.  I can assure you additional information will be shared as it becomes available.  For now, I would like to share the following details of our return to learning for all high school students.

Assistant principals

Mr. Crable – Grades 9 and 11

Mrs. Reiber – Grades 10 and 12



  • In place of our traditional orientation we are preparing a “9th Grade and New Student” virtual orientation.  This video will contain information specific to students entering GAHS for the first time.  Stay tuned for more information coming next week.

  • Returning students will also receive a link to our “Welcome Back to School” virtual orientation.  This link will be sent to families of returning students next week.

  • All 9th grade and new students will be assigned an iPad as part of our ETO initiative.  We will be scheduling appointments for students to pick up their iPad on August 18 and 19.  These students (along with one parent) will also have an opportunity to walk through the high school building to follow their first semester schedule.  More information and a link to schedule a timeslot will be sent to families next week.

  • With virtual learning impacting both the hybrid schedule and the fully virtual option, access to their iPads will be very important for all students.  Families originally opting for the “On Campus Only” use of their iPad may change their status to “On/Off Campus Use” by contacting the high school main office to schedule a time to pay the $25 ETO fee and pick up their iPad.  This fee is waived for students qualifying for free/reduced lunch.  Please email Mrs. Combs at for more information.


  • GAHS students will return to school following a hybrid schedule, 2 days in person and 3 days of virtual learning each week.

  • Students with last names beginning A-L will attend in person on Mondays & Tuesdays.

  • Students with last names beginning M-Z will attend in person on Thursdays & Fridays.

  • Families with different last names, but living at the same address, will attend the same days. Please email Mr. Crable at to make arrangements.

  • Accommodations will be made for students with an IEP/504 to address their needs and appropriate school responses as it relates to their educational goals.  Please email Mrs. Reiber at if you have any questions.

  • Upon arrival, students will report directly to their first period class as indicated on their schedule.  Students should not linger in groups or in hallways.  Attendance will be taken in first period.  By eliminating homeroom this year, we have created one less transition in the school day.

  • For safety purposes, doors will be open for students to enter the building at 7:05 a.m.  In addition, students who do not have scheduled after-school activities should exit the building no later than 2:50 p.m. each day.


  • Student expectations and accountability will be stressed.  All students are expected to be actively engaged in education 5 days per week, whether in the building or virtual learning.

  • Attendance will be recorded every day, and it is critical that all students log in each day from 7:35 a.m. – 2:40 p.m.

  • Students will participate in live meetings and lessons from teachers.  They will also learn and complete interactive assignments on Schoology, our learning management platform.  It is important that teachers and students develop relationships as a community of learners just as they do when in person. 


  • Breakfast will be available each day.  Students eating breakfast will go directly to the cafeteria upon arrival to receive their breakfast.

  • Lunch will be available each day.  Students will eat within the cafeteria or other designated and supervised areas within our building to maintain the necessary spacing. 

  • Students will be encouraged and provided the opportunity to wash hands prior to eating.

  • Regardless of the location of lunch, all seating will be assigned for distancing and contact tracing. 

  • Seating and tables will be cleaned and sanitized before new students arrive.

  • For safety purposes, students will not have access to microwaves during the lunch periods.

  • Lunch menus and student lunch account information is available by visiting our website at  Click on District – Departments – Food Service.  For additional information, please contact the district food service office at 717-597-3226, ext. 50505. 


  • Students may walk to and from school.  Walkers should enter at the auditorium lobby doors and exit the door closest to their last period classroom.

  • Students dropped off before school must enter the campus from Leitersburg Street and follow the traffic pattern by driving behind the high school to the north exit to drop off at the front corner of the high school.

  • Student Parking:  To begin the school year, students driving to school may park in any numbered spot in the parking lot behind the high school until parking permits are made available.  More information will be available after the start of school.

  • Franklin County Career and Technology Center (FCCTC) students are given the option to drive this school year.  Please refer to the information that was sent from FCCTC or visit their website.  Students riding the bus will exit their regular bus and directly board the FCCTC bus.  More information will be shared in the virtual orientation. 

  • Students riding school buses should have their temperature taken at home prior to pick-up.  Students must wear a mask/face shield and remain within their assigned seat on school buses. 

  • There are NO temporary bus changes permitted this year.  Should a permanent bus change be needed, request forms should be submitted to our Transportation Department at least 48 hours in advance.

  • The district transportation department will notify families of bus routes, pick up/drop off times, and bus stop information for each student.  For the first week, parents and students should expect delays due to students and bus drivers learning new routes and stops.  Students should plan to arrive early to the bus stop and wait patiently as everyone adjusts to the new routine.  

HEALTH & SAFETY GUIDELINES (including face masks & shields as well as positive case identification)

  • Anytime that 6 feet of separation can’t be guaranteed/maintained, students must wear a mask/shield.  This will always include riding on the bus and traveling within hallways.  This may also include classrooms where there is inadequate physical space for distancing or instructional activities.  Only students with appropriate Health Care Provider documentation will be excused from this requirement.

  • Any/all school provided tools that are used during instruction will be cleaned and sanitized between student use. 

  • No lockers will be assigned or used this year.

  • Students will not change clothes for Wellness this year.  Activities have been adjusted.

  • Students will be discouraged from bringing anything unnecessary from their homes and encouraged to bring their own water bottle.  Students will have access to a “touch free” water bottle refill station.

  • All restrooms have non-contact flushing devices, soap dispensers, sinks and towel dispensers.

  • Information regarding monitoring and responding to student and staff health concerns at school as well as all health considerations and protocols may be found within the District’s Health and Safety Plan (posted on our GASD website). 

  • Questions regarding student or family health concerns should be directed to Mrs. Poper, School Nurse.  Questions regarding our Health & Safety plan may be directed to Mr. Crable, Assistant Principal. 


  • The High School Counseling Department will be available to work with students, teachers and families to address our student’s social and emotional needs.  Each counselor maintains a Schoology website account filled with valuable information for students and parents alike.  This year the counselors for each grade level are as follows:

Grades 9 and 11 – Mr. Barrett

Grades 10 and 12 – Mrs. Everetts

  • College Advisor:  Through a continued partnership with Franklin and Marshall and The National College Advising Corps, Mr. James Hoon, College Advisor will return for another year to work with students and their families to provide college and financial aid advising.  Parents and students are encouraged to take advantage of this excellent resource. 


  • GASD will continue to utilize School Messenger as a paperless method of communication. 

  • Stay tuned for more information from our Technology department regarding back to school documentation, technology systems and procedures.

  • New this year, there will be a “Get Help” section added to the website.  This is earmarked to be launched by August 12.  

The high school faculty, staff and administration are working tirelessly to prepare for our students return to learning, both in person and virtually.  Please understand these plans must remain fluid and flexible during these times.  We are looking forward to a fantastic year of education as we embrace this unique and exciting opportunity to expand the horizons of education.  Thank you for your patience as we work through every detail to make this a successful school year for all students.  I will continue to send updates as more information becomes available.  Together – we got this!   Enjoy these last few days of summer.  G-A Proud!


Dr. Edward Rife
High School Principal


Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional. 
Roger Crawford