After hours of discussion, the Hamilton Southeastern School Board voted 7-0 to allow for Pre-K through Fourth Grade to start attending in-person classes in a 50/50 schedule starting on September 8th. Grades 5 through 12 will continue in a virtual only mode.
The HSE School Board had previously voted to give the superintendent, Dr. Bourff, the authority to make changes and decisions around school opening. At today’s meeting, the board voted 6-1 to pass a resolution to amend that decision and to require the superintendent to get board approval to change from one phase to another. Amanda Shera was the only one to vote against this taking back this control. The resolution is at the end of this post.
With the resolution passed, the board voted to pass a proposed change by Dr. Bourff for opening. This involved opening pre-k through 4th grade in a 50/50 capacity with a virtual option still being offered. Kids would remain with teachers regardless of the option they chose. This decision of maintaining teachers with students is based on feedback from other districts. This means a teacher could have a combination of virtual and in-person students.
With the 50/50 schedule, the in-person kids would attend either Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday and then every other Wednesday. The lessons would be virtual on the other days.
The details of the plan were not available. It was stated that they had a flowchart and had talked to teachers, but were still working on the details. They believe they can work out the details. What details that were presented were unclear; however, it seemed that kids choosing virtual in the pre-K to fourth scenario could be spending more time with aids or substitutes than with the teacher. With a shortage of such help, it was unclear how this would work.
This “new phase” that wasn’t really part of the plan goes into effect after Labor Day. Per the plan, it should last four weeks at a minimum. If the pandemic numbers spike or change, then this plan could also change as well, but for now, some kids will be headed back to the buildings in a couple of weeks.
As a side note, the most concerning part of the School Board meeting this morning was when a School Board member mentioned details about the pandemic that have been debunked multiple times.
Here is the resolution passed by the board:
AMENDED RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF SCHOOL TRUSTEES OF HAMILTON SOUTHEASTERN SCHOOLS REGARDING PLANS FOR RE-OPENING AND RE-ENTRY
WHEREAS, on March 6, 2020, Governor Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-02 declaring a public health emergency in Indiana as a result of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, on July 1, 2020, Governor Holcomb issued Executive Order 20-34 extending the public health emergency through August 3, 2020;and,
WHEREAS, during the health emergency, Hamilton Southeastern Schools (HSE) closed its school buildings through June 30, 2020 in accordance with Executive Orders issued by Governor Holcomb;and,
WHEREAS, HSE school buildings have now reopened and HSE is preparing to transition to in-person instruction with student attendance in the buildings; and,
WHEREAS, HSE has prepared and is continuing to revise and refine plans of actions to be taken in anticipation of its students attending school on site, now called the Operations Plan in Response to COVID-19 (Operations Plan); and,
WHEREAS, HSE Board of School Trustees(Board)passed a resolution on July 8, 2020 granting authorization to the HSE Superintendent and administration to further revise and refine the plans for return to school as warranted by changing conditions; and,
WHEREAS, HSE Board of School Trustees, in passing the resolution on July 8, 2020, did ratify and approve the actions taken by the HSE Superintendent and administrators in preparation for the return of students to school and the re-opening of HSE school buildings; and,
WHEREAS, there have been significant changes made to the Operations Plan since the original resolution was passed on July 8, 2020, including developing and adding a phased-in approach to returning to in-person instruction; and,
WHEREAS, the Board now desires to modify said Resolution, passed on July 8, 2020, to require approval by the Board when moving from one phase to another within the Operations Plan; and,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,that the Board hereby ratifies and approves any actions taken by the HSE Superintendent and administrators in preparation for the return of students to school and the re-opening of HSE school buildings prior to the adoption of this amended resolution; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that prior to announcing a district-wide move from one phase to another phase,as described in the Operations Plan, the HSE Superintendent and administration shall seek and obtain Board approval; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that, due to changing facts and circumstances and the fluidity of the situation involving COVID-19, the Board authorizes the HSE Superintendent and administration to further revise and refine the plans and procedures within a specific Phase,as described in the Operations Plan,as warranted by changing conditions, including, but not limited to, modifying teaching plans and procedures, instruction methods,and schedules within a phase; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Superintendent shall report to the Board,on a weekly basis,the actions taken pursuant to the authority granted by this Resolution, an update on community data received from the Fishers Health Department, an update on the number of students or staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are currently being quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19,and any other pertinent information regarding the *operations of the school buildings as it pertains to COVID-19and this Resolution.
Approved by the Board of School Trustees on day of____August,2020
* Reopening changed wording in final paragraph from “reopening” to “operations” by a vote of 6 to 1.