FISHERS — Students in the Hamilton-Southeastern school district went to virtual learning Friday because of staffing issues. The district tells WRTV there simply were not enough staff members to teach in-person Friday.
221 teachers were absent and only 144 of those positions could be filled.
“We really need to get kids in the classroom otherwise we’re going to lose a whole generation of kids,” says Tiffany Eggers, a parent in the district. “I don’t know how they’re going to catch up.”
Thursday night at 6:30pm, the superintendent alerted families they’d be e-learning Friday because of a large number of staff members out and not enough substitutes to cover for all 22-schools.
Tiffany Eggers’ son has an IEP and says his state test scores have fallen from 30th percentile pre-pandemic down to now 7th percentile.
“Honestly, it keeps me awake at night,” she says. “I actually have fractured teeth from clenching my jaw so much from the stress that I actually have now got orthodontics. It’s extremely stressful.”
She fears her children are losing quality education and social and emotional development learning from home.
“I believe that when our society chooses that it’s more important to go to a bar or to a movie theater or restaurant than to educate our children, we are all going to lose in the end,” says Eggers.
“Out of my grandchildren I now have, let’s see, five that are in counseling. It is depression,” says Barbara Shaub. “This has got to stop or we are going to lose this generation.”
A similar sentiment felt by a grandmother, who says she’s sad her grandchildren are having to sacrifice so much.
“We would love to have all of our kids back and not have to deal with this, but again, the ripple effect for us is the impact on staffing,” says Kim Lippe, HSE executive director of staff and student services.
Every time a student tests positive, an entire classroom must then quarantine. Those are the public health orders coming from the Fishers Health Department.
The director of staff and student services tells me according to their data, transmission within the schools is very low, it’s a safe place to be — as echoed by Indiana governor this week — but their problem is with so much staff needing to quarantine.
Starting Monday, all students grades 7-12 will transition to virtual learning for the rest of the semester. Fifth and sixth graders remain on a hybrid schedule, and fourth grade and younger are 100% in-person.
“It’s to also be able to free up resources and staffing that we can shift to the pre-K through grade 6 levels,” says Lippe.
“We personally need to sacrifice to get these kids in school,” says Eggers.