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Hamilton Southeastern Schools to go 100% virtual on Thursday

Fishers mayor not happy with decision
Homeschooling organizations see flood of parents reaching out as fall start dates inch closer
Posted at 11:28 AM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 19:28:44-05

FISHERS — The Hamilton Southeastern Schools Board of Trustees voted Tuesday to move the entire district to 100% virtual learning starting Thursday, Nov. 19. It's a decision that does not sit well with the Mayor of Fishers.

Hamilton Southeastern Schools students in grades seven through 12 already moved to virtual learning on Monday.

On Tuesday, the school board voted to move the rest of the students in Pre K through grade six to 100% virtual learning beginning Thursday and through at least Friday, December 4.

"We continue to experience a lack of sub coverage for many of our classrooms, despite our best attempts to reroute additional resources from the secondary buildings to assist in filling open positions in grades Pre K-6," the board said in a statement.

According to district leaders, 94-teachers and instructional assistants requested a sub on Tuesday, November 17th. The district fill rate is currently 49%. Principals, counselors and other teachers have been stepping in to help, but they anticipate the need for subs to increase even more in the coming days.

Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness issued the following statement addressing the HSE School Board's decision.

"Neither my administration nor our health department were aware of HSE’s decision to move PK-6 education to 100% virtual learning. We have worked tirelessly to keep our schools open and have publicly stated that we believe schools should be open. In fact, today we intended to announce the opening of an additional COVID-19 testing site dedicated to any student or staff member at HSES that had been exposed. I am extremely concerned about the burden that this will cause parents with a mere 48-hour notice for closure. My commitment to our residents is that I will do all that we can to see our schools open again."

WRTV spoke with Mayor Fadness on Tuesday. He shared details of the new COVID-19 testing site. It opens Monday and will be located at 8933 Technology Drive. Residents can schedule an appointment at here.

"Our school system and our local economy are very important things to our residents and in order to keep both of those going the availability of fast reliable testing is really critical," said Mayor Fadness.

The board plans to reassess the situation before Dec. 4 to determine if students are able to return to the classrooms that week. Students in grades seven through 12 will remain virtual through winter break.

"We understand how difficult this is for our students, staff and families," the board said. "Please know we remain committed to serving the school community through this pandemic."

The board also approved support staff to continue receiving pay while students remain virtual.