By Linda Dillman
Hamilton Local Schools opened Aug. 31 under a full virtual model, but if pandemic numbers continue their downward trend in Franklin County and the local area, students could find themselves back in the classroom on a hybrid model starting the middle of September.
On Aug. 25, Hamilton Schools Superintendent Mark Tyler first updated parents, staff and students on the opening of the 2020-21 school year and asked for patience as everyone works through inevitable technological issues. Tyler then announced the intention to activate the district’s Green/Gold hybrid learning plan on Sept. 14 where students attend in-person on Tuesday/Thursday or Wednesday/Friday and then alternate on Mondays depending on their group assignment.
“At this point, I feel really good about that date,” said Tyler. “With respect to all things COVID, this is a fluid, flexible situation and things could change between now and then. Understand, when we are transitioning between a more restrictive model into something less restrictive, we can be a little patient with that—give you time to adjust your schedule, get our teachers and students started in a comfortable way.”
According to Tyler, at any given moment, a majority of Hamilton students are learning from home. In addition to the hybrid model, approximately 25 percent of students selected full virtual learning for the first semester.
For the remaining 75 percent, only half of that student population—37.5 percent—will be in a building at the same time.
“This greatly helps social distancing in our buildings,” said Tyler. “I think we’ll be able to create a very safe environment. It’s important for us to get rolling with this in a virtual sense, then we’ll transition back into the hybrid model. I’m really looking forward to that. It’s incredible news. Again, we’re trending in a positive direction, but it doesn’t take much to derail that.”
Hungry stomachs still need to be fed, whether in a virtual or hybrid learning situation and the district is delivering a hot lunch and a to-go breakfast via six daily buses delivering meals at 13 different locations.
A cafeteria worker will ride alongside the bus driver to help deliver and keep track of the students picking up meals.
“We will have a roster to identify the student picking up the breakfast and lunch,” said Mary Anne Hillerich, the district’s food service coordinator. “The cafeteria worker, upon returning to the school, will input the information from the rooster into our POS system. Funds will be deposited into the student accounts to cover the meal cost. Parents and guardians can deposit funds using debit/credit cards anytime on our district’s EZPay portal.”
Under a normal setting, the district serves nearly 2,000 lunches and 1,200 breakfasts per day.
Current meal bus routes are as follows:
Bus One, 10-11 a.m. – 14 Oak Road; noon -1 p.m. – Spruce Drive and A. Ave. Bus Two, 10-11 a.m. – Obetz Community Center; noon -1 p.m. – Bridlewood and Thelma. Bus Three, 10-11 a.m. – 4041 Chattermark Drive; noon-1 p.m. – Martinsburg and Shenandoah Valley Dr. Bus Four, 10-11 a.m. – Breathitt and Clabber; noon-1 p.m. – View Point and Rendezvous. Bus Five, 10-11 a.m. – Harshaw and Randan; noon-1 p.m. – Ester and Dupler. Bus Six, 10-10:25 a.m. – Shadeville, corner of Canal and 665; 10:35-11 a.m. – Lockbourne Town Hall; noon-1 p.m. – Belford and Astoria.